The families struggling with extreme behaviour in Born Naughty are desperately trying to find out whether their child’s problems are nature or nurture. They are desperate to get a diagnosis of something to be reassured that they aren’t terrible parents.
While these cases are extreme, anybody who has met a child knows that you don’t need to teach them to disobey. They will lie, hit and scream to get their own way even if they have never seen that behaviour from anyone around them. Our experience indicates children are born naughty even though that grates against our cultural sensibilities.
The Bible offers hope for the parents in this series and elsewhere. We are born naughty. We are born with a heart that naturally wants to disobey God. That shows up more obviously in some than others but it is there for us all - including the parents. Is it them? Is it us? It’s both.
[we] were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— (Ephesians 2:3-5 ESV)
The Bible gives us the solution as well as the diagnosis. Jesus is the only person who wasn’t born naughty. He obeyed perfectly, all the time. But he then put himself in the place of all of us who have disobeyed. He took the consequences for that disobedience on the cross so that we could be welcomed back into the family that we’d broken. We still experience the effects of being born naughty, but we have a perfect Father, and that makes all the difference.