31-Day Parenting Devotion
EASY WAY TO DISQUALIFY YOURSELF AS A PARENT
The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
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Too often parents with sinning children focus too quickly on the disruptive child as they by-pass their reactions to their disappointing child. Here are two questions that will help you avoid this parenting problem:
- How would you describe your relationship with the Lord?
- How are you practically living that relationship out on a day-to-day basis inside your home?
By not asking these questions, there is a good chance you will not be able to meet your long-term parenting goal of cooperating with God in helping your child become more like Jesus.
It would be like trying to make a car go forward without an engine under the hood. The parents are the engine that makes the family move forward in their pursuit of practical God-centered living. If the parents are not right with God (or each other), they will make it exponentially more difficult for their child to become Christlike.
While many children can become practical Christ-lovers in spite of their parents, it would be presumptuous to expect this result without the parents participating in the process (Psalm 19:13-14). If you sin in response to your child’s sin, you are, at that moment, disqualified from helping your child change.
Parabolic Illustration: A boy falls to the ground. A man jumps on top of the kid while he is on the ground. The boy who fell is more concerned about the man who jumped on top of him than the reason he fell.
To sin is to fall, which is what the boy did in my parable. The parent then sinned in response to the child’s sin. At that moment, the one jumped on will be more concerned about the one who jumped on him than his reason for falling. The fallen child cannot effectively do anything about his fall until his parents stop complicating the matter by “jumping on him” after he falls.
In football, it is similar to “piling on.” That is when someone from the opposing team jumps on a previously tackled player. Piling on your fallen child will keep you from appropriately dealing with the areas in his life that need to change. And you will make your child afraid of you.
Each time a parent sins by anger in response to their child’s sin, they will put the child “on his heels.” Anger from a parent complicates a child’s heart. All children crave love and protective care, but parents can disrupt these possibilities if they do not bring their anger into submission to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
Fear motivated children go into a defensive, tightening up, and shutdown mode as a matter of self-preservation. This kind of child will be tempted to lie about what he did because he’s scared of how his parents will react to him.
He will sense in those moments of tension that the wrong response could set you off. He will put up a wall as a means to protect himself from you, which will circumvent you from any possibility of a grace-filled conversation with him.
Time to Parent
- Accurately describe what is going inside you when your child disappoints you (James 4:1-3).
- As you understand what is going on inside your heart, you will be able to isolate the idolatries that cause you to choose anger. Start walking out personal repentance, which will position you to help your child the next time he falls.
- In addition to personal and practical repentance, find ways to encourage your child (Romans 2:4). Before, you were de-motivating him by sinful anger. Now you can motivate him by identifying evidences God’s grace in his life.
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Also published on Medium.