She and I ran through the tall pale grass that brushed against us and tickled our 9 year old cheeks. We laughed and ran free through the Nebraskan fields of the massive farm until we came across the legs of an animal lying in the thick grass, sharp claws splayed out in front of my feet. I almost stepped directly on top of the ferocious wolf. We screamed with terror and ran for our lives.
When the men came back from searching for the vicious animal they informed us that our “wolf” was a goat. A dead one.
We had allowed ourselves to be insanely afraid of a dead goat that even alive would at worst, chew on our sweaters.
Our reactions were based on a false understanding of who we were dealing with.
The same is true for us as believers when we think about God’s treatment and views of us. And the danger there is that we can pass that wrong view on to our children too.
It would take more than all the ink in the world to write about the attributes of God. But I wonder, are we as parents believing one thing about God but displaying quite another as a model to our children?
It’s my belief that often our kids will understand God our Father often in light of how we model being a mother and father to them.
Sometimes, when we are reading a lot of information, methodology, and tips for parenting, we forget to be like the Bereans who listened to teaching from Paul and then went home and examined it for themselves from the Truth of God’s Word.
These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11
I often ask myself, “If my kids’ only view of God’s character were dependent on how I treat them, what would be their view of God?
Here are 3 ways we can display God’s attributes to our children:
I don’t lie to my children. My word is my word:
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19
If we say we will do something, we follow through even if it costs us to do so. Because of this, we think very carefully before making promises to our kids and as far as it is in our power to do so, we fulfill our promises to them.
We consider our temperament and approach very carefully when dealing with the attitudes and actions of our sons:
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35
We consider carefully what “discipline” and “correction” truly mean. Even the word “child” is not necessarily what we think, according to Scripture. Even though we would say that our children are not our enemies, how much more so then should our response to them be like the one we find in Luke 6:35? Are you kind in your discipline towards your kids? Would they describe you as someone who does good to them, gives to them freely without holding it over them and making them “pay” for it emotionally later? Would they say you are kind to them even when they are ungrateful?
I want to draw my children’s hearts with loving-kindness, not with manipulation:
The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31:3 He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve. For as the skies are high above the earth, so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers. As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us. Psalm 103:10-12
This is especially important in our home because we believe that much of what our kids do is a result of immaturity and not necessarily willful disobedience. God does demand our hearts and minds. He is jealous for us! But He does not manipulate us. He communicates with His people, He warns them gently, gives them a chance to respond correctly over and over again, and follows through with what He said would be the results of their sin. But He does not try to negatively coerce or manipulate them. For this reason, in our home we have decided that we don’t withhold events or opportunities that our sons have been looking forward to as a means of discipline. At the first sign of repentance, God is quick to show mercy and grace! Would our kids say that about us too?
My prayer is that each of us will first come to know and believe the compassion and value that we have in Christ. Only then can we own it for ourselves and effectively model it towards our children.
Mom, Dad, God does not lie to you and He always keeps His word. His temperament towards you is to do good towards you and treat you kindly even when you are ungrateful or sinful. God loves you from everlasting to everlasting and draws you with loving-kindness.
What a loss it would be if our kids lived in fear or a wrong understanding of God’s attributes because they saw a wolf in their home instead of a loving example of Christ-likeness. Believe what God says about Himself and how much He cares for you and then pass that on to your children today.
YOUR TURN! What attribute of God is most striking to you personally?
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Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1
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