Posted by: ramonamom | September 25, 2008


Tomorrow morning as you wake up and get out of bed, put some thought into how many of your actions come automatically, out of what we call “habit”.  Do you always sleep on the same side of the bed?  I certainly do, even when we travel!  Brush your teeth before or after you shower?  Put both socks on first or one sock and shoe and then the other sock and shoe?  Are these areas that you think about when you do them?  No, they are all habits, developed over time.  Habits can be classified as good or bad, and I propose that there are also habits which are neither good or bad.  What difference does it make if you put both socks on before your shoes, after all?! 

In his book, A Theology of Christian Counseling, Jay Adams has this to say about our sinful habits:

Sinful habits, formed in the old life, as unbelievers, are carried over into the new life, causing difficulty for everyone involved.  Habits, the Bible says, are not easy to alter; Jeremiah asks, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leapord his spots?”  And then says, “Neither can you who are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23; cf. also 22:21).  Paul, commenting on the problem that habit posed for the Corinthians, wrote: There are some who, out of habit formed in idolatry, still eat food as if it were offered to an idol, and because their conscience is weak, they are defiled” (I Cor. 8:7).  To mention one last fact, (not that more could not be said), consider this sobering thought:  even after good habits have been developed by Christians, if they are subjected to continued abuse by the practice of contrary behavior (especially as it is modeled by evil associates) these good habits can be lost.  Paul warns, “Don’t be misled, bad companions corrupt good habits” (I Cor. 15:33).  Clearly, the place of habit in Christian thought and life is significant, and the Scriptures recognize this fact.

How many of our habits (sinful and neutral) are cultural?  The foods we eat, the ways we respond to situations, driving laws we follow – these are all examples of cultural habits.  If you have ever traveled to another country, you are aware of just how drastically your cultural habits can stick out like a sore thumb as you do something as simple as walking along a street on the sidewalk. 

Now, turn your thoughts towards the older adopted child(ren) in your home.  At what age did they become part of your family?  Even a child as young as two years old has learned habits and, the older they are, the more habits they bring with them.  Those behaviors of your adopted child(ren)’s that really, really get on your nerves – are they habits?  How difficult would it be to learn to drive on the other side of the road, if you moved to Europe?  Could it possibly be that much of a struggle for your son or daughter to change their behavior (habits), also?  Some examples of cultural habits that may be repulsive to our very nature are lying and stealing.  Are those sinful habits any worse than our own, though? 

Christian adoptive parents, let me encourage you to have compassion on your older adopted child as you teach them new habits and help them unlearn their old ones (put on, put off).  This is a huge task and one that they may not have chosen for themselves.  Keep your eyes on the eternal goal, rather than the task at hand, and do not become discouraged.  Your family ministry is a worthy one which has a great potential of bringing glory to God!



  1. Ramona, Been thinking about you lately. Hopped over here and got this very encouraging word. Thank you so much for the reminder. Suzette

  2. You are very welcome, Suzette. I continue to pray for your family and hope the adjustements are going well.


  3. […] Pact Vs. American Judge A while back I wrote a post on the habits older adopted children bring with them into their new homes and families.  We saw a wonderful illustration of this concept […]

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