Nothing breaks a parent’s heart more than to see our children make foolish choices which can result in consequences for years to come. But there are some things we can do early on so God doesn’t have to allow more serious consequences later.
1 Kings 15 & 16
Parenting & Consequences – Why They’re Valuable
When to Help & When to Get Out of the Way
Verse 25, “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.”
Nothing breaks a parent’s heart more than to see our children make foolish choices which can result in consequences for years to come. Nothing we do can guarantee that our children will not make those choices, but our responsibility is to faithfully teach them while they are young. At times, that includes allowing them to suffer the consequences of their actions instead of constantly intervening.
- The child who repeatedly forgets her lunch, may need to miss lunch a few times.
- The child who gets in trouble with a teacher needs to know that Mom and Dad will not run to his rescue.
- The teen who gets caught drinking and driving may need to spend a night in jail, instead of being immediately bailed out.
- The son or daughter who brings drugs into the house needs to know that his or her parents will call the police and have them arrested!
By allowing those less serious consequences, we may save our children from progressively more serious ones. But as they get older, if God needs to allow more serious ones, we need to be careful not to get in God’s way. The Prodigal Son’s father, a type of our Heavenly Father, did not run after his son, he didn’t bail him out of the mess he was in or try to find him a job. He patiently waited. It was in the pig sty that his son, finally, came to his senses (Lk. 15.11-32).
God loves our children more than we do. He knows what each of them (and each of us) needs to come to the end of ourselves. He knows our hearts and He disciplines us when it’s appropriate and for our good (Heb. 12.5-11).
In the course of counseling, I’ve seen too many instances where parents had protected their children over and over from the natural results of their sin and rebellion, only to have God take matters out of their hands, by allowing something that the parents could not fix.
As parents, we need to pray for wisdom and discernment to know when to help and when to lovingly allow consequences to run their course. As hard as it is to see our children suffer those hard consequences, how much more tragic if they are enabled to keep going their own way and they never see the need to turn to Christ.
Today’s Other Readings:
1 Kings 15 & 16:
Modern Day Idolatry
It’s often difficult to understand how Israel could return again and again to idolatry. Like us, they probably rarely made a conscious decision to stop worshiping God and begin worshiping some golden calf. Instead, there was most likely a gradual drifting away, making compromises toward the things of the world, until those things began to look more enticing, even more normal, than the worship of God and His guidelines for their lives.
One of the attractions of pagan idolatry was its inclusion of all kinds of sexual perversion, including male and female temple prostitution, fertility rites, and the use of drugs and other substances to induce so-called spiritual enlightenment.
Today, freedom from restraint, freedom to behave sexually in any way we desire, and the right to use drugs are worshiped just as surely as any golden calf.
But we got here one step at a time, as well. The first step was deciding sexual perversion and drug use were no longer criminal. Next, they became more and more acceptable. Soon those things were rights to be demanded and then just other versions of normal.
As I’ve said before, we are called to love people involved in those things (homosexuality, living together, any kind of sex outside of marriage, abortion, drug use), but we cannot allow them to become acceptable or somehow right in our thinking.
Pieces of the Puzzle
Much of this psalm and others have prophetic, messianic meaning, as well as, the immediate meaning in the life of the psalmist. Verse 25 is quoted in Acts 1.20 referring to Judas. Verses 22 and 23 are quoted in Romans 11 and verse 26 was prophesied in Isaiah about the Messiah—all portions of the great tapestry called Scripture that fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.
Bathing and Foot Washing
Verse 8, “… If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.'”
Jesus is our only hope for cleansing from sin, as we come to Him in humility and confession, accepting His forgiveness from all our sins. But we also need that continual “foot washing” of repentance and forgiveness.
Verse 10, “Jesus said to him, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.'”
What About You? Questions to Ponder or Journal:
Is there some area where you’ve accepted the world’s definition of right and wrong? Do you need to go to God and ask His forgiveness?
Do you need to change how you respond to your children’s irresponsible or rebellious choices while they’re still young and the consequences are minor? If you have older children, is there some situation where you need to get out of God’s way?
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