I am sure you’ve never been out in public with young children and been embarrassed by their behavior. Never, not you. Not your kids. But just…
Parenting sometimes brings certain “aha” moments. Recently I experienced one of my own.
I have a daughter who tends to display selfishness in a particular way. While I discussed the issue with her, I began to get a bit discouraged, maybe even a little irritated (why is she so selfish?!). And then the “aha” struck.
At that moment I realized the sin I see in her, is quite similar to the sin God must see in me. I don’t mean in a general way. I mean, I could err in precisely the same way she does (it just comes out in more “mature” adult kinds of ways). That was a humbling realization.
This incidence got me wondering: how often do I get irritated at my kids’ issues while failing to recognize the ugliness of my own? Would I fight sin quicker if the obviousness of my child’s sin became a mirror to my own heart? I suspect I would.
The Beauty Of Seeing Our Ugliness
Our children are often a lot like us. Sure they have their own strengths and weaknesses, but we seemingly pass along many of our own. Whether its traits and dispositions they genetically inherit, or whether its learned behavior – kids inevitably reflect a bit of their parents…for better or for worse.
Therefore, when we notice our kids’ reoccurring sin issues, it might be worth considering whether we relate to their struggle in some way. I say this for 4 reasons in particular:
#1 We will correct our children with more humility.
This self-examination I suggest should not keep us from correcting our kids because we sympathize with them. It should cause us to approach them more humbly. Instead of wagging our finger with irritation in our eyes, we should patiently correct because we know change doesn’t happen overnight in our lives either.
#2 We will correct our children with more urgency.
We know how hard it is to fight the specific sin that creeps into our lives. And we know how difficult it is to break bad habits. Thus, the quicker we help our kids fight sin, the better. We want them to grow up to be more godly than we are, right? Well, we better start helping them now!
#3 We will correct our sin with more clarity.
There are times when we are entirely unaware of the sin residing in our hearts — that is, until something like a child’s sin provides a painful look in the spiritual mirror. But praise the Lord for such clarity. When we see the problems their sin causes, we recognize the destruction our sin could cause. The obviousness of their sin makes our own undeniable.
#4 We will correct our sin with more sobriety.
When saddened by our child’s stubborn refusal to let go of sin, we get a glimpse of God’s heart towards us. We remember sins are not committed in a vacuum — we are sinning against our Heavenly Father. He is also saddened by our stubborn refusal to let go of sin. This reminder should bring a weightiness to our fight with sin.
Sanctification on Overdrive
For the next 15ish years I will be spending lots of time teaching and training my children; How sanctifying the process will be if I keep the “aha” moment in mind!
How many years do you have left? Could you maximize those years by simultaneously turning parental teaching moments into personal teaching moments?
If Psalm 139:23-24 communicates the desire of your heart, how could you not?
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!