Monday, April 7, 2008

The Idolatrous Parent

I was reading an article by Paul Tripp this morning and a paragraph compelled me to take a moment and reflect on my life as a parent.

Article Thesis: While much of the advice and instruction available for Parents focuses on behavior, "The Bible says that our situations and relationships are merely the occasions in which our hearts express themselves". Therefore, behavioral conflicts with our children provide the parent with opportunities to address the important issues of the heart if we are diligent deal wisely.

Mark 7:21-22. 21 "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness."

Here is the paragraph:
I would like to be able to say as the father of four children, all of them now grown up, that the only time I got angry was when one of them broke God's law. However, what is in fact true, and I think it's true of all of us, is that often I wasn't angry because they had sinned, but because their sin had gotten in the way of something that I wanted. And what often gets in the way of parenting teenagers [or any child for that matter] is the idolatry of their mother and father.
As a father, I, too, live for comfort, appreciation, success...But they must not rule my heart. If they do rule my heart, then in a moment of teen [or any age] trouble...I'll turn a moment of God-given ministry opportunity into a moment of anger.
If it weren't for your child's behavior, you would not be able to learn their heart. Bad behavior observed in our children is not an inconvenience for the wise parent, but a much needed opportunity to instruct and serve our children. Unfortunately many parents, myself included, are too much concerned about how their child's behavior reflects on them or inconveniences them and too little concerned with patient instruction in God-given opportunities.


Rebecca Wire said...

Having children has taught me SO much about my own selfish tendencies and my own struggles with choosing to do what's right. Every time I hear myself begin to say, "I've told you not to do that". . . I can almost hear God laughing at me. :)

The Long Family said...

Great thought. Thanks.