Monday, January 19, 2009

Balanced, Biblical Parenting

Our passion to see our children truly come to know the Lord and live the blessed life of doing His will can often leave us full of confusion and fear. So we read everything we can get our hands on and end up more confused and fearful than ever. We want to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but we don't want to make a mistake in our child rearing that could permanently alienate them from us. We don't want them to become rebellious, neither do we want them to be merely mind-numbed robots. So we end up sometimes wondering like Pilot, "What is truth!?!"

The only balanced truth, of course, is found in Scripture. There is only one way you will know the truth and that is by knowing the God of truth through His Son, Jesus Christ. Then, the Spirit will lead you into all truth (John 16:13). As the Lord said Himself when praying for us to the Father in John 17, "Thy Word is truth."

As a believer, we must be so saturated with Scripture that, as we read something, we can tell whether or not it is from God. Though we may need time for further study and prayer over an issue, in time, we have the promise that God will lead us into all truth.

Once we know the truth from the Word, then we can teach it to our children, not by forcing them to believe our convictions, but teaching them day by day what is taught from the Scriptures. We must present it in such a way, both by our word and by our example, that they will want to believe it for themselves. The problem with some children is that all they hear from their parents is we need to do this or that because Michael Pearl, or Doug Philips, or Bill Gothard, or even Daddy, says we should and not because God's Word says we should. That is why it is vitally important that parents direct their children to the Word. It must be our only rule of faith and practice.

But, you say, what if they don't believe it? When they get older, some of our children, especially those who do not yet know the Lord, may pick up ideas contrary to the Word, even from sources who claim to be biblical. In this case, if a parent has taught the child what is right by the Word, then he or she may seek to bring them back to the truth by sharing the Word with them again. If they refuse the truth, then the parents must allow their grown children (over the age of 18) to leave the home in pursuit of whatever they believe. The parents may then pray earnestly for them and point them again to Christ and His Word when they suffer because of their choices.

There is a Bible story relating to this type of balanced parenting. It's called the story of the prodigal son. You may read it in Luke 15:11-24. Note particularly how the father responded to the rebellious son's wishes, how he looked for and expected his return, and his reaction when the son repented. There are many lessons in balanced, biblical parenting here.