Loving Those who love You is easy. But what about when love becomes hard? What ends up coming out of you?
Every day is one to celebrate in the Lord, during your quiet time (especially when the kids are watching), reading the Bible and praying.
But there are those days when you are stretched beyond your limits, your kids — taught the Word and prayed with and over — stray from your example (Mom AND Dad) pull stunts and make bad decisions. Enough for you to pull your hair out, go gray, and weep.
I can speak from personal experience the angst. But this is about your kids. They unfortunately and fortunately have free will to obey.
*Caveat* Punishing a child before the age of understanding for belief or disbelief is in my opinion, sin, and bordering on child abuse. Love and understanding is your parental duty as a steward of your kids. I’m not talking about ‘oh, let’s allow the kids to run free, amok, with horrific behavior because it’s so cute.’ No, that requires proper correction.
Your house rules are your house rules. Yes, that’s true. Recall, once I wrote that forcing your kids to be perfect in all things will drive them to run the opposite way. If you want to herd chickens, this is the perfect way to create chaos.
Teens disobey, behind your back, smoke cigarettes, may drink alcohol, get involved with drugs and risky behaviors. Give them a car and you’ve now tripled your worry meter. You surely can take their keys unless they are long gone.
But guess what? You have no control over their choices. Christian parents following the Word, standing in the gap for their kids in prayer experience this, too, so when these things fail, you wonder what you did wrong, what you could have done differently, and you feel shame (am I right?).
No one wants to face the fact that their awesome nine-year-old will become a terror followed by swearing, storming out of the house, running away. Because that is defeat, right? No.
Remember the story of the prodigal son (and his equally lost brother)? His father waited every day for his beloved son to come home. The older son developed an arrogance paying his father only lip service. You want either? No, not so much. I was that first son, so to speak. I was ‘perfect’ and arrogant. Think back to your childhood. See what I mean?
Don’t forget, the Father lost His only Son to death. Some of us have lost family, and many, our young. This is perhaps the most heartbreaking event that could happen.
Why me? Why my child? What’s the purpose? How could You? I prayed!
Those are the questions for which I do not have the answers.
Yet, your kids will watch your reactions. Shame? Rejection? Godly discernment in what to allow in your home? Or will they see and wonder over the unconditional love, the same love God has given us?
I used to work as a nurse on an HIV floor of a hospital. It was heartbreaking. Some wanted to know about God, many did not. Parents who loved their kids despite behaviors were kicked out of the church, shunned by their family, and otherwise treated like garbage.
I can only say this is a problem in the church for kids and adults. The divorced Christian is shunned, and don’t tell me that anyone has God’s permission to shame parents. They do not. No parent in the church who is already wounded with pain from their spouses or kids need our support, our love.
Remember too, that Jesus was rejected, that God was mocked. Pray for your kids, love them (don’t be accepting of behavior, but accepting of him/her because they are your child!) and act accordingly.
And Church? Do not act as though you are perfect. Please. Accept and love the parents struggling. They are loved unconditionally by God.
There may be a time when you have decided that the behavior is so toxic that you must walk away (from your child or the church).