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THE BEST THING SOME PARENTS CAN DO IS STOP PARENTING
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
You cannot create unity from disunity. What is on the inside will come out on the outside. If disunity is what is in your marriage, disunity is what will flow out of your marriage. If disunity characterizes your marriage, the likelihood of your children being relationally dysfunctional is strong.
Think about it this way. What if there were division in the Trinity? What if the Father, Son, and Spirit were angry with each other? If it were true, we would not stand a chance of being loved well or protected. Mercifully, we do not have to worry about whether the Godhead is going to stay together or if they are going to get into a yelling match. Have you ever worried that way about them?
I suspect it has never crossed your mind, or if it did, it was a fleeting thought that you immediately shrugged off as impossible. God’s children do not worry about the stability of the Godhead, and your kids should not have to worry about the stability of your marriage. You should not put that kind of burden on them.
When your children think about your marriage, they should immediately think about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the other manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). If your children are more aware of the hostility, unforgiveness, and general disunity in your marriage, their hearts will be motivated to gravitate toward things that are more stable and secure—from their immature perspective.
Everybody wants security; nobody likes instability. When I was a teen, I found my stability through my ability to perform well at my job. My work gave me the things I craved, things my parents would not give me because of their unwillingness to love each other well.
Security, approval, acceptance, and a sense of accomplishment were mine to have as long as I could perform for my employer. And I did. My work was my refuge. My home was a chaotic context for disunity. Home life was something to endure, while my job experience was a pleasurable escape.
This course of action is natural for teenagers who live in chaotic homes. Their hearts begin to drift to something they can control—to something that will not disappoint them. All of us have a desire to look for love. Too often we find this love in the wrong places.
I suspect some parents could read this and think they are the cause of their children rejecting the Lord. Other parents could think their children will follow Jesus because they are good parents. Both opinions are wrong.
Good parents do not make Christians, and neither do bad parents. A Christian is made a Christian because of the gospel, and the gospel comes to individuals because of the Lord’s unmerited favor (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Do not fall into the trap of, “What have I done to my children?” And it’s imperative for you to give biblical reflection to, “What have I done to my kids,” especially if your marriage is not a good representation of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:25). Two ditches exist here, and you do not want to fall into either one of them. The self-righteous person will think their works matter. The arrogant individual will presume on the grace of God (Psalm 19:13).
Is your marriage hindering your children from loving Jesus? What are some of the attitudes or actions in your marriage that you need to change so you can more effectively put Christ on display in your home? Even if your spouse does not cooperate, how should you change?