Summary: Parenting is tough and we will make mistakes, but if we give our children to the Lord he will catch them when we screw up.
Perfectly Imperfect Parenting
Why would anyone actually choose to be a parent? Notice Jesus and Paul never became parents. Were they just wiser than anyone else? But God also says that children are a blessing. These kind of questions plagued me for many years. All I saw was hard work, spending lots of money, disrespect, stressed out parents getting divorces. It took me many years to realize that parenting is God’s premium training ground for learning to be like Jesus.
Children are a blessing because God rents them to us so we can learn to become like him, and teach them to become like him. I know this isn’t a very romantic view of parenting, but let’s face it, parenting is not very romantic. Whose kids are they? They’re not ours, if you want proof, God can take them any time, and we can’t take them with us when we die.
Of course there are lots of wonderful benefits we get from our kids, but the truth is that we are not really given children to meet our needs and desires, and parents who try to do this often hurt themselves and their children with unrealistic expectations. I have many stories of women who have had children in the hope that it would change their husband. Or that by having a child it would somehow heal their own childhood hurts. These people learn soon enough that this is a very misguided motive for having children.
We have the perfect model for parenting in our Father God and if we look at his qualities as a parent (whether mother or father) what do we see?
For thousands of years the God that created us has been a dedicated Parent, always there when we need Him. His whole focus has been on us from the beginning of time.
Well this is an obvious one with the greatest sacrifice being that of Jesus.
He gave us his word, and sent Jesus to teach us personally. He wants us to know about him and to know Him. He shows us how to live in the way that he designed us to live. As the truth project said, He speaks into every area of life and culture.
While sometimes harsh, it is always after giving us a chance to change, or stop what we are doing. And His discipline is always with the motive of love, wanting us to succeed.
Several covenants. Wiping us off the face of the earth in a flood to start over. We keep screwing up over and over again, and he just keeps working with us.
How many of us would have given up the experiment by now? Some say even God must have a flat forehead. He doesn’t want anyone to perish so he waits thousands of years for us to “get it”. We are stubborn, strong-willed kids that many parents would have shipped off to boarding school by now or worse. He just sits back, watches and waits. He apparently still has faith in us.
Well I want to focus on four things this morning, all of them having to do with the primary roles of parents according to Scripture.
I. Children Require Teaching (2Tim, Deut, Prov 22:6, Psalm 78)
Clearly the Bible says this is the primary role of the parent. In Deuteronomy 6 under the heading of the greatest commandment we hear that we are to fear the Lord and teach our children and grandchildren all the commandments of God all the days of our lives so that life will be a drag? No, so that our days may be long.
A couple verses later He says we shall love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might, and put His commands on our heart so we will teach them diligently to our children, and we shall talk about His words when we sit in our house, when we walk down the road, when we lie down and when we rise, in other words, all the time.
There is the famous teaching from Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way they should go; even when they are old they won’t depart from it.” Now I know that some of the best trained children go astray, but it has been my experience that when they have a good Christian foundation, when they have tried everything else, they often come back to it. The Prodigal Son is a great example of this.
Then there’s Psalm 78:4-8. We will not hide them (what we have heard and known about God) from the children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,