What love does and does not

Posted on February 19, 2013 · Posted in Parenting, Worldview

We have come to the last of eight negative statements made about love in I Corinthians 13. In verse six a direct contrast is made with delighting in evil and rejoicing in the truth. This has a pointed application to parenting. Here is verse six:

 

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

 

Parenting has two distinct facets.  The first is the conscious directions, conversations, plans, and activities that you choose to make in an ongoing basis as you raise your children. The second is not nearly as thought out, but much more powerful in what it communicates to your children.  This facet is the way interact with your world and what happens to you in that world. For example, you have a co-worker who believes that his mission in life is to make you miserable.  Or perhaps your team is not going to make the big tournament. Maybe your vehicle’s check engine light just came on. Your reaction to these life-events is also a vital part of your parenting. 

 

Let’s take that co-worker who has been a constant source of angst. You have not been silent about his daily attacks and how difficult he makes life. Then one day you find out that your nemesis has been fired.  You leave work in state of delight. You stop at the store to buy everyone at home a treat to celebrate the removal of this proverbial pain-in-the-neck. You are in a better mood than you have been in for months. 

 

What sort of example have you set for your children?

 

What would it have looked like to show love to that co-worker? You could have focused on returning good for evil. You could have asked your family to pray for you to be a blessing to that co-worker. You could have demonstrated that showing love is not an exercise in giving to get. You could have rejoiced in gaining a friend who had been an enemy. 

 

This principle applies to any number of situations that indirectly, but powerfully, influence your children. Directly, of course, you want to not delight when your children make mistakes. There should be rejoicing when your kids honor God and make progress. But in this post, it is the indirect influence of your own spiritual walk that is being highlighted. 

 

Are you a parent who models this basic tenet of love for your children? Do you delight in evil or rejoice in the truth?

Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.