Where Does God Fit Into Your Parenting?
Can we please God by how we parent, even though our kids are displeased by our parenting? As we parent according to what the Bible reveals to parents about parenting, we touch the heart of God. So, logically, the answer becomes a resounding, “YES,” God can be pleased by our actions toward our children.
But then why would our children not be pleased with our parenting?
Let me answer with a question: What child is happy about discipline? Hebrews 12:11 states, "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful.” And earlier we read, “...those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” (Hebrews 12:6).
The writer of Hebrews asks, "What son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:7). In other words, as parents God calls us to discipline our children. Strange as it may sound--to them or us--grounding your teenager for the weekend for violating curfew is actually evidence of our love for them.
However, such a teen is never happy with us when we do, and may even claim that we do not love them! When this happens, every parent must ask himself or herself, “Will I honor God though my kids do not always honor me?”
Will you run the family as God intends, or run a popularity contest with your kids, seeking their favor above God’s?
Will you honor God though your kids try to manipulate you to give into their selfish demands?
We know the Bible teaches kids to honor their parents (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4 and Ephesians 6:2), but what do we do when we feel that our children will only dishonor us until we give into their demands?
By way of example from the Bible, we know of one father with sons who did not honor him. What did this dad do?
This dad made a decision to honor his children above honoring God. The dad wanted He desired the favor of his sons more than the favor of God.
Eli, a Jewish priest spoken of in the Old Testament, had two sons who habitually did bad things, but Eli did not discipline them. There came a moment when God spoke to Eli saying, “Why do you…honor your sons above Me?” (1 Samuel 2:29)
God revealed very clearly to Eli that he put his sons above God.
We might say that Eli’s love for God wasn’t enough to motivate him to love his sons through proper discipline. After all, when a father truly loves his children, he disciplines them as God loves us and disciplines us.
God then goes on to state to Eli what many of us quote without appreciating the parental context--“for those who honor Me I will honor” (1 Samuel 2:30).
Have you ever quoted this? “Those who honor Me I will honor?” Did you know this was originally spoken to a parent? The whole point revolves around parenting!
In other words, God honors the parent who honors Him.
The verse continues with an even more sobering note--“and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed” (2:30).
In other words, Did you catch that? Unwise, ungodly and unbiblical parenting despises God.
What a frightening thought. This should make all of us a bit nervous.
However, we should not be shamed by this verse. None of us parent perfectly. Adam and Eve were closest to being perfect parents and even their son, Cain, killed his brother, Abel.
So, relax. There is no perfect parent. All of us have blown it, but that does not make us enemies of God.
At the same time, Jesus tells every parent a truth that must become front and center in our parenting: “He...who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).
We must not love our kids more than God.
How are you learning to balance your love for God with your love for your children?