Parenting in the 21st Century is more complicated than it has ever been. With the advent of 24/7 technology, marriages falling apart, a corrupt culture, and other challenges, being a parent can begin to feel like a burden rather than a blessing. The Bible is full of relevant principles that will help us become more effective parents. Our children are meant by God to be a great blessing—not a burden (Psalm 127:3-5). It is in the midst of such frustration and disappointment that we must to return to God’s Word for perspective. That disrespectful child or rebellious teen is intended by God to be a blessing and a reward, not a burden.
(1) Having children of your own gives you insight into how much God, your heavenly Father, loves you. Think about how much you love your child. It’s a lot, isn’t it? God loves you more than that. But sometimes we doubt God’s love for us, don’t we? Being a parent can help us understand why God doesn’t always jump in and bail us out in the midst of difficult circumstances. If you jump in and rescue your children every time they get in trouble, procrastinate on their school work, or forget something, you are not preparing them to live in the real world.
God has woven a law into the fabric of the universe that every child needs to learn from an early age. It is the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7-8). Our children need to learn that that their choices and actions have consequences. A wise, loving parent knows that sometimes we need to stand back and allow our children to reap what they have sown. God knows that godly character is often best forged in the midst of life’s trials (Romans 5:3-5). It is the God who loves us who allows us to go through trials and tribulations, because he knows that we grow stronger as a result of those trials.
Besides the presence of trials in our lives, some of us doubt God’s love for another reason. Some of us have experienced a moral or spiritual failure so great, we have been tempted to think “Surely God has turned His back on me now. How could He love someone who has done what I’ve done?”
It is true that God hates our sin, because he sees its total impact. And if we continue in it, God will surely discipline us, because he loves us. Have your children ever disappointed you? At such times you may hate their sin, but it is the rare parent that stops loving their child. If you, as a flawed human parent, continue to love your children despite their failures, how much more do you think your heavenly Father continues to love you, despite your failures? So when your children fail, consider them a blessing, because your abiding love for them serves to remind you that God’s love for you never falters, despite your failures.
(2) Children are a blessing because they help provide care for their aging parents. When, as adults, our own parents age and begin to experience declining health, it is our turn to care for them. We can spend time with them, help with meal preparation and cleaning, take them to doctors’ appointments, and just be there to talk. This role should be embraced as a blessing rather than a burden. And that’s how it should be. That is what God intends. That is another way that children are a blessing.
(3) Not only are children a blessing to their parents, but godly children become a blessing to society, because today’s godly children become tomorrow’s godly adults. Godly children grow up to be positive contributors to society in all kinds of ways—spiritually, morally, economically, and politically. They are givers, not takers. They are builders, not destroyers. To use Jesus’ words, they act as salt and light—a blessing—in a deteriorating society. However, the Bible makes it clear that if parents fail to take their parental responsibility seriously, if we neglect to apply Biblical principles in our parenting, our children can prove to be more of a curse than a blessing, both to us and to society. A wayward, rebellious child can bring great pain and shame to a family as well as to a community (Proverbs 17:25).
Over the next several weeks, Pastor Doug will set forth a Biblical framework for parenting that, if followed, will greatly increase the likelihood that our children will be a blessing, to both our families and our communities.
Application / Challenge
- Work through the questions in this week’s Talking Points, Walking Points.
- Make a special effort to be here each week as we work through this series.
- Invite a neighbor or coworker to join you for this series.