What is the difference in “that” family? Perhaps you have been asked this, or have thought the very same words at a point of frustration while parenting your children?
The everyday common scenario of correcting our children’s behavior while working through our own emotions with a godly response is never easy for a parent. When we are face to face with those moments, we are thinking about the 150 times we already have corrected this very same behavior.
When God gave us our children, whether by birth or adoption, we were not handed an instruction manual. We often forget that the Word of God has the wisdom we need to raise Godly children. But, what about moments like these?
When we are feeling defeated by repeated behaviors or character issues that we have addressed over and over, we want to know – “Where is the wisdom in this?”
Just last week, I met this parenting struggle face to face. It isn’t enough to have been mothering for 21 years, and remembering the frustrating and discouraging realization that the correction I had given to my children did not make the struggle disappear.
I sat across from one of our middle daughters, wishing I could stare straight into her heart. And as I sat there in a strange calm, considering that this was the “zillionth” time this month we had encountered the same situation needing correction. I had been praying for wisdom in this for days. My mother’s heart was feeling frayed, and I knew there was nothing left that “I” could do. I know we need to reach their hearts and not just touch the surface.
Wisdom was calling. It was as if I could see deeply past the pools of green, into her heart this time. She was sad, disappointed and frustrated in her own failure. She wanted change too.
Put-Off, Renewal, Put-On!!! Yes! Thank you Lord for this reminder, and from your Word!
Ephesians 4:22-24 – “ You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Every time we would correct this habit, pattern of behavior, the former self would find a way to creep back in. Correcting the behavior was just not enough. She needed to put it off, soak in God’s Word and KNOW what character and good behavior God would have her put back on.
It was like a fresh, cool breeze had blown through our windows. We worked through this a little differently this time, and the renew process has been beautiful. The poor habit is not re-surfacing, and she is thriving with her walk with the Lord. The empty spot where the bad behavior had been taking us both into repeated conflict, was replaced with godly character and with prayer and diligence – it will reign there.
So How to Correct Our Children?
Correction, grace and love can touch the heart, for Scripture teaches that sin begins in the heart and works outward. The change in our behavior begins with a change in the heart, which leads to our actions, desires and motives. Change will be gradual, but the putting off and putting on will renew and transform us in Christ.
So, give your children hope. When you have opportunity to show them grace, love and correction – show them also – the Truth. It will set them free.
What an awesome challenge to dig into God’s Word for the character that we can apply for sinful habits or poor behavior. But, be prepared – for this wisdom can apply to our very own lives daily.
Put- Off, Put -On.