Have you noticed a recurring theme this week? I do, and I'm not so sure I like it!
It appears that in parenting, teaching our kids the importance of authority in their lives, showing them how foolish decisions can impact their future, as well as trying to build their character, all starts and ends in one place: in our own hearts.
We must examine our hearts. We saw on Monday and Tuesday that we are a living picture to our children. Ideally we want them to see a picture of Christ, and that cannot happen if our hearts are not in tune with our Heavenly Father. We must first search ourselves, confess our unhealthy thoughts, our anger, our impatience and pride, and anything else we find—and ask forgiveness.
Then we may have to apologize to our kids. Be open and honest. Be a picture of love, grace, kindness, and mercy. They will want to copy those things in their lives, too. It may not always happen in our timing but it's most important to do a self-check first.
Last year my son Scott lost a long, tough battle with leukemia. At his memorial service his close friend, Boyd Bailey—who founded and leads a national ministry called Wisdom Hunters—spoke. He related how Scott, after a business discussion or board meeting, would often confront him in a personal way and say, "Boyd, how's your heart? That's more important than any budget or a corporate discussion."
Even after a phone conversation Scott would end with "Boyd, how's your heart?"
That brought to memory my husband. He asked Scott, more than once, "How's your heart, son?"
So you see, as we examine our hearts, the fruit will carry over to our sons and daughters—both biological as well as spiritual sons and daughters. But it all begins with your personal heart evaluation.
Parenting is not about us telling our kids what to do and when to do it. Parenting is more about looking at our own lives, getting on our knees, confessing, and asking God to forgive us. Then maybe going back to our kids and asking forgiveness. In this way, we model what a Godly parent is.
You see, we cannot change our kids. Only God can do that.
Oh, and by the way my friend: How's your heart?
Questions for reflections and discussion: Have you checked your heart lately? How might this question impact your priorities and habits? Would it be helpful to read a copy of Paul Tripp’s book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family?
This week's devotions were written by Donna Melby. Donna has been a member of Wheaton Bible Church for three years. A widow with six children and fourteen grandchildren, her favorite verse is 3 John 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."