Someone told me that she had a friend who had seven children that had all grown up and left the house. She said that not a single one of that mother’s children spoke to her anymore. That broke my heart. I thought, “Oh, God, please don’t ever let that happen to me!”
We can have the best behaved kids on the planet, but if they can’t stand to be around us and can’t wait to escape our home, then something has gone tragically wrong in our parenting.
We were reading together out loud through Matthew 7 as a family one morning and when we had finished, my daughter Caroline offered the following insight: she said, “You know God really spoke to me through the part where many came to him saying, ‘Lord, Lord. . .” and he told them, ‘I never knew you. Away from me. . .’ (Matthew 7:21-23) I feel like it’s easy for those who have grown up in the church and in a Christian home, like me, to feel like being good or following all the rules is what it’s all about, but Jesus told them, ‘I never knew you.’ That reminds me that knowing him is what it’s all about. He wants me to know him.” I couldn’t agree more.
1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Our Heavenly Father’s relationship with us is our perfect example for how we should conduct our relationship with our children. God created us for relationship with him. He redeemed us for relationship with him. He is coming back to restore everything so that we can fully experience that relationship with him forever. Yes, obedience to God’s commands is important. It’s important because it enables us to experience the beauty of our relationship with God and demonstrates our love for him, but it is not what God is after. He wants to know us. He wants us to know him and experience his love. Obedience is necessary for us to do that, but it is not the end goal.
It is very important to train our children in obedience, but it cannot be our end goal or focus. Ultimately, we want to lead them lovingly to a right relationship with God. We can do that best by creating a loving relationship with them so that they can begin to understand what that is like. We can never love them perfectly like God can, but we can love them well. We can strive to love them the way Jesus loves us, so that they will desire to know Him and walk with Him.
The next few blog posts will be about nurturing, maintaining, and restoring healthy relationships with our children. I haven’t always done this well, so God has had to teach me a lot in regards to this. I will share all the Lord has taught me. If you haven’t already subscribed to this blog, now is a good time to do that. If you haven’t shared with other Christian parents about this blog, I would ask you to consider doing that. I have seen too many broken relationships. It truly breaks my heart. I want to offer everything the Lord has ever taught me, so that other families would be blessed, strengthened and brought to a place where their homes are filled with joy and peace.
Building a strong and loving relationship with our children isn’t easy, but the end result is wonderful!