Keepin’ It Real
This two year old is happy-go-lucky, cheerful, whitty and just plain fun….most of the time. There are periodic moments…..actually, frequent moments when she has a melt-down over the war with self and sin. Sometimes, she is the innocent victim of sin and cruelty from her sister-siblings, but most often, she, in her 2 year old little body, struggles with sin just like the rest of us.
My husband and I have been parenting now for almost eight years. And boy are we still learning. Alot. We will always remain eternally grateful for a little church plant (now, not so “little” anymore) that we were apart of when we lived in Columbia early on in our marriage. It was there that we were introduced to what the Bible says about parenting. We watched other godly families ahead of us in the parenting realm model the godly rearing of their little ones who sat beside them in the Church pew. We got to know these families in the rigors of the home and we tried to soak it all in with our infant first-born at our side.
Now, 9 years of marriage and 4 children ages 7 and under later, reality has slammed us in the face. Parenting is a heavy responsibility. As Jonathan Edwards puts it “Every Christian family ought to be, as it were, a little church consecrated by God’s rules.” Parenting is the real deal. We have been handed the fragile hearts of little ones, to shepherd and lead and tenderly point to the Gospel truth. Pastor Alexander S. Campbell (from the Church we attended spoken of prior) offers the Biblical answer for the devastating statistics of prodigal children in Christian families. His words hit hard, “Household after Christian household continually breaks God’s covenant and forgets His precepts. Teenage rebellion, empty pews, the decline of morality, and the rise of paganism are only symptoms of the disease of man-worship. Unfortunately, the high priests of the man-cult of secular humanism are often the unwitting, weakling fathers and naive, doting mothers of the American Christian home. Prodigal children are often the love child of an adulterous affair between Christian parents and the Prince of this world.”
So what is the solution? What are we to do when our toddler let’s out a defiant “No!” or hits the floor in anger? What are we to say when our 5, 8 or 15 year old chooses the un-wise path and challenges a parent’s authority, or snags a toy from a siblings hand, or tells a blatent lie? Pastor Campbell does not leave us without hope: “The answer is very simple and yet will take a life time to master; the children of the Christian home have the responsibility to honor and obey God’s Word. Yes- their role in the family is to honor and obey. The parents in a Christian home have the responsibility to enforce that honor and obedience. Their role is to lead and teach. The children have the easier task.”
Of course, there are ways that Pastor Campbell’s wise words practically play themselves out, but we must not forget that, though our children will sin, we must help them to live in honor and obedience as the ultimate goal.
You might ask yourself, “Why is honoring and obeying so important to God?” In rebuking the reckless King Saul, Samuel remarks, ‘Rebellion is as the sin of divination (witchcraft).’ Rebellion is witch-craft? In God’s economy, there is no room for “boys will be boys” or “they will grow out of it.” To dishonor a parent is akin to demon worship. To disregard a parent’s instruction is to cast a spell.
Make no mistake about it, you are in war and the battlefield is your home.”
(Teaching Your Children Honor and Obedience by Alexander S. Campbell)