The story of the blind man is such a beautiful picture of what Christ does for all of us who believe. He opens our eyes to see our spiritual need, desperation, and depravity--the fact that we live in the utter darkness of sin. And while the opening of eyes is something only God can do, there is a great weight of responsibility on parents to prepare our little ones' hearts for spiritual Truth.
If you read through John 9, you can tell by the way this man speaks in vs. 30-33 that his heart was already prepped for the Jesus' announcement that He is the Son of Man. He already has a great understanding of the spiritual world... and because of the culture of his day, he had already been told of his sin.
Although, off base, the blind man's culture told him that his blindness was a punishment from God for either his sin, or his parents'. I'm guessing his parents' didn't consider it to be theirs... as you can tell they distanced him from themselves in vs. 21. So there's a great chance that not only was this man told by the world around him that his blindness was a result of his sin, but was also told so by his parents.
Jesus corrects this thought. That his blindness was brought on as punishment. God disciplines those He loves, certainly. But God does not punish. And here we see that the blindness has nothing to do with sin, but rather with God's glory. As we so often forget. This world, this life has nothing to do with us... rather it's to bring glory to the One Who deserves to be glorified.
Still. The fact that this man has been told time and time again that he is a sinner... God can and did use that to bring glory to Himself as well! It made the blind man aware of his need for a Savior. It made him aware of his sin. It made him aware that there was nothing, absolutely nothing that he could do in his own effort or strength to get away from the fact that he was a sinner. He stood condemned.
I feel that often, we, as parents, are good at praising our kids for all their wonderfulness. We tell them they are beautiful, we tell them they are funny, that they are smart, kind, charming, whatever quality within them that we value. But really, when we do this we praise them for things that really have nothing to do with them, but rather how God created them. Sometimes we are so busy worrying about self-esteem in our children; building them up that we forget to glorify God for the way He has made them. We fail to tell them, "You are beautiful because you are made in God's image." Or, "God gave you a talent for drawing, keep up the hard work because He can use that talent to glorify Himself."
Here is where our responsibility lies-- to prepare their hearts for the Truth of His grace and mercy. To allow them to see that anything good in them is because God has already rained down mercy on them and He loves them. But it doesn't end there. They need to understand the sin in them leaves them in utter darkness. That they have sin and they have a need for the Savior. I'm not suggesting a fire and brimstone sermon every time they fail. Rather, we need to gently lead them by example-- by being willing to talk about our own sin and our own need for a Savior. By talking about repentance and what that looks like. By talking about turning away from sin and turning to the foot of the cross where we can experience mercy and grace.
It is up to us, Mommas and Daddies, to prepare these little hearts for the Lord. It is not for their Sunday School teachers, the church or anyone else. We are commanded to do so:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ESV
There is a reason that studies point to the fact that most of those who don't accept Christ by the time they are 18 never will. It's because they've left home and left the guidance of Christian parents. And there's a reason that only 5% of children in this generation are believed to be born again (compared to the 15% of my generation and the 35% of the generation before). It's because we are failing in our duties as parents. Let's not continue down that road. Let's prove that statistic wrong by turning the tide and teaching our children about the Lord once again. Let's prepare their spiritual eyes to be opened by the way we lead and the way we live.
“Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon