Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parenting to the Glory of God

Spurs jingle menacingly. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Western whistle in the background. Close-up of parent's twitching eye. Cut to kid's set jaw. Back to Mom's hand hovering over the holster. (She's wearing white.) Cut back to kid's hand above her holster. (She's wearing black.)

"Don't do it, kid," warns Mom. "I've got the Gospel. And I ain't afraid to use it."

It was one of those days.
In a bad way.

The short run of parenting is this messy, stinking mire we call Sin. And Sin has such a hold on both parent and child that, while it can be a fine line for the kid to cross from clarification to insubordination, it can also be a fine line for the parent to cross from demanding instant obedience to exasperating the child.

We have tangled many times before. Like oil and water, it can be explosive. It is easy for me to get pulled into the emotion of the moment by insisting on my way because I am, after all, the mom. And I can fire off scripture like a Gatling gun, reminding the offender that she must obey her parents in the Lord for this is right.

But that is to forget the chief end of man: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That is an issue of the heart.
My heart.

I must run from using scripture in a self-serving way and use it only for the glory of God. How dare I use it for any other purpose? I know my heart. I know every inclination of my heart is only evil all the time. I know that without the intervening work of the Holy Spirit, I will parent for the glory of me. And to parent for the glory of me is to fall short of the glory of God.


Pastor CJ Mahaney tells of a time when, after he had rebuked his son for an infraction, his wife Carolyn said to him, "I didn't hear the Gospel in that rebuke."

Do I chastise my child because she offended me? or because she offended God?
Do I want her to stop irritating me? or do I want her to be in right standing with God?

Every time there is sin in my child, I must bring that child to the foot of the Cross. That is what it means to rebuke with the Gospel. I must direct that child to the most offended party. And that party is God, not me. And while I sit at the foot of the Cross with my child, I recognize that I, too, offend God with my exasperation and my quick temper.

Only when we both, parent and child together, come for our cleansing to Calvary's tide, can I parent to the glory of God.

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