Summary: This lesson continues the series "Where Does it Hurt?" discussing the relationship between parents and children.
WHERE DOES IT HURT?
Text: Matthew 18:1-6
1. Children are a great joy given by God to lucky parents.
a. Some people have asked me if I thought four was too many and if I would have as many if I had the chance to do it all again.
b. I said, "Which one would I give up?"
c. Each child brings its own type and level of joy to a parent.
2. Each child brings its own level of responsibility to the parent too.
3. In this lesson we propose to see children in two ways:
a. The child from the parent’s responsibility
b. The child from its own responsibility
4. We hope to mold these ideas into one goal and see healthy Christian children emerge on the other end.
5. It is the aim of this lesson to see what God’s plan for parenting and being a child in today’s and societies of all times.
TRANSITION: Children are a joy for their parents, but they bring great responsibility.
I. The parent’s responsibility
A. Our text says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
1. This sentiment is echoed in Colossians 3:21, "Fathers do not exasperate your children so that they do not lose heart."
2. There are some key points we need to get out of this that are vital to the successful raising of Christian children.
3. First of all, the mention of fathers does not let mothers off the hook.
a. Fathers are mentioned for several reasons:
b. The father is usually the strict disciplinarian in the family, they are warned not to go too far (applies to moms too)
c. Fathers are the head of the family (like CEO) he is addressed with the orders for the family
d. Wives are responsible for helping implement the plan for the family so they are to help in the discipline of the children.
e. In fact, the same Greek word translated fathers is used in Hebrews 11:23 referring to Moses parents hiding him in a basket.
f. This applies to both parents, but is addressed to the father
4. Next see that there are two distinct commands
a. Provoke not your children to anger (Do not exasperate Colossians 3:21)
b. And bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
B. Let us examine the idea of provoking to anger.
1. The Greek verb literally means, "To make angry."
2. So does this mean that if a father raises a child the way the Lord wishes that that child will never get mad at his father?
a. NO! It does not.
b. We will see inherent in the definition of discipline will be a degree of anger, or at least displeasure.
3. Tied up in this is the idea of overstepping a boundary.
a. Do not be an insensitive tyrant who is simply looking for the next opportunity to spank your children.
b. See them as an opportunity to make something good and not just a beating post or an outlet for your long lost frustrations.
c. One of the most critical components to raising children who can love God is self-esteem (not arrogance)
d. We need to understand some barriers to self-esteem (Brecheen and Faulkner):
i. Irrational goals (i.e. President of US, Gold medalist, etc.)
ii. External circumstances beyond control (learned helplessness, provide opportunity for children to succeed)
iii. Cultural assumptions (success is having things, Satan’s trick to lure away from Christ)
iv. Neurotic guilt (feel guilt even if no guilt is involved, make kids feel OK)
v. It is not what happens to a Christian that counts, but his attitude toward what happens.
4. How do we as parents overcome those barriers to self-esteem in our children?
a. Provide a secure environment. The first need children feel is the need for security; let them know that physically, mentally, and emotionally they are safe with you.
b. Try to understand them. They call this getting behind their eyeballs. Know what his happening by being involved with them and thinking on their level.
c. Be patient. Allow them to express themselves without an immediate blow-up. Listen to them and help them understand.
d. Have faith in them. They do not want to be bad. They want to please you. Believe that they can and give them the chance.
e. Be open and transparent. Let them know what you are trying to accomplish and how they are progressing in your eyes.
f. Praise and compliment them. Do not label them as "stupid", or "lazy". The worst thing in the world a child can hear is a parent’s condemnation. Lift them up and make them believe they can do what you want done.