When I was on a morning run this summer, I found a crawfish crawling towards a very busy road. I thought, “I’ll just grab it by the tail and relocate it to the pond so it won’t become a tattoo on someone’s tire.” I had no idea how quick and vicious a little crawfish could be. That little sucker nearly had my pinky finger for breakfast. Next, I tried with a bucket to scoop it up and relocate it, but it fought and fought and dug itself down into the earth, snapping its pincers at me. I looked down at that fiery, red crustacean and muttered, “Fine! Crawl to your death if you want!” and left. I can give up on a crawfish. I can’t give up on my kids.
I’ve had some of my children fight and provoke me and resist my help with a tenacity that seemed supernatural at times. The only problem is, I’m a fighter myself. God taught me something years ago that the Holy Spirit now has to continually remind me of. I often sense Him whispering to my soul, “Who are you fighting for, Grace? And who are you fighting against?”
If we’re not fighting, our children are in danger. These are not the days of “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food, Amen” prayed quickly over meals, a good children’s program at church and all is well. Far from it. The enemy is at our throats. He wants to destroy our children. We need not fear him but we need to resist him and stand our ground. Doing that in our families will not be easy. It’s going to require a fight!
We are fools if we don’t fight. But we are bigger fools if we fight the wrong way. God does not want us fighting against our children – He wants us fighting for our children.
I’ll just be very honest and let you know that I am continually drawn into fighting against my children. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” I hate to admit it, but I have torn my family down at times. If I have a child who is intentionally disobeying, disrespecting, or fighting against me, my go-to reaction is to fight back. Not what God wants. He wants me to fight against the sin and rebellion in their heart. He wants me to fight against the enemy who is tempting them and seeks to destroy them. He wants me to fight against my own emotions and tendencies which will damage my relationship with them. He does not want me fighting against them.
Here are some markers that help me identify when I’m fighting against my children:
- If I take their disobedience personally.
- If my words are aimed at shaming them instead of restoring them.
- If I choose consequences with the intention of punishing them instead of training them.
- If I am angry at them instead of at the enemy.
- If I’m focused on how their behavior is annoying to me instead of on why it is wrong and needs correction so that they can develop Godly character and grow up into maturity in Christ.
- If I am operating out of spite instead of out of grace.
The fighting is inevitable. Often times, just like that crawfish, our children can’t see the danger they’re in and the places where their willful or foolish behavior is taking them. When we try and be God’s protective and instructive hand in their life we will sometimes find them snapping back at us. We cannot give up on them no matter how hard they fight or how frustrated or hurt we feel.
The next time a tussle begins between you and one of your children ask yourself, “Am I fighting for them, or against them?”
Lord, we love our children. We want to fight on their behalf and be a part of your love and protection for them. We know we have to fight. Help us fight well for their building up and your glory. Show us how, Gracious Redeemer.
This blog post focused more on identifying when we are fighting against our children. Next week’s post will give practical ways we can start fighting for them.