The most important thing about parenting is being a Christian.
Why is this so important?
Because you sin against your children. You sinned yesterday. You sin today. You will sin tomorrow. Does that disqualify you from being a parent? No, and if you have recognized this pattern of sin in your life, then you have great hope as you continue on in the task of parenting that God has called you to.
You were not perfect when you became a Christian, and you are certainly not perfect now. Thankfully, the salvation that Christians have received is so powerful, so complete and awesome, that when you sin, God commands you to come and be renewed instead of turning from away from God.
What does this look like in everyday life? Here is an example:
You just became impatient with your nine-year-old. He was slow doing his part of the yard work. You snapped at him and told him if he didn’t work harder he would lose his computer privileges for six months.You knew your response was wrong as soon as you said it. Here are some of the ways in which you might respond if you are not engaging in genuine repentance and renewal:
1.You think that you shouldn’t feel guilty because he really is being slow. You know you should not have snapped, but he should have worked faster, so you say nothing.
2. You are embarrassed about snapping but reluctant to acknowledge it to your son, so again, you say nothing.
3. You feel guilty for snapping, so you apologize profusely and tell him that the work he did was great and that you really didn’t mean he couldn’t use the computer. Then you say why doesn’t he take the rest of the afternoon off and you will finish up his part of the work.
4.You apologize for snapping, but tell him that you have a lot to do, and he really needs to get with the program and show you that he cares about doing his work, because that is what he should do to honor God.
I am sure you can figure out several other variations on this theme. In none of these hypothetical responses has the parent drawn any closer to God. In none of these responses has there been true repentance. There has been some remorse, but the underlying anger and frustration remain. You have not grown closer to God and your son has not grown closer to you.
Here is what the conversation might sound like when you follow a the biblical model:
“Son, I was wrong to snap. I wasn’t trusting God or being kind or helpful to you. Would you please forgive me for snapping? Also, God is helping me to remember that I have snapped at you a lot in the last few days, so I need to ask forgiveness for those times as well. Thank you! Let’s pray and ask God for his help and thank him for the providing the way of repentance and forgiveness for us. Great! Now, let’s talk about why things are going slowly with the yard work.”This parent has acknowledged sin for what it is. He is confident in the power of Christ’s salvation. He knows he will not be cast aside. He knows that because of what Christ did on the cross, his sins are truly forgiven. He knows that he can reach out to his son. And he knows that because of biblical forgiveness he can immediately begin to help his son with his struggles.
Don’t be dominated by your sin. Rather, be dominated by the power of God and his Son. God has given you a way to conquer sin in the middle of everyday life.