March 10, 2010

It's Gonna Hurt Me More Than It's Gonna Hurt You

Children inherit the sinful natures from their parents and they can also inherit specific sins. When I say inherit I mean spiritually, not evolutionary.

Exodus 34:6-7
"The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation."

"Visiting" [Paqad] in Hebrew in this context means "be concerned with, make a search for, punish". This is an expression of grace. Certain sins run in a family, alcoholism, drug use, adultery to name a few. God essentially promises to track sins down and eliminate them in order to keep them from propagating from one generation to the next. If the Lord Almighty didn't do this we would literally wipe ourselves out with sin. Sin has a pervasive rippling effect in families. A proclivity for a particular sin. We've all seen this too. David-Solomon, Abraham-Issac/Jacob...deceivers, impatient, adulterous, polygamists, lack or self-control, prone to bad decision-making because of a prevalence to drift away from God.

We need to be faithful and consistent. Break the will not the spirit. Explain the offense. Reaffirm the child. End the matter. Don't let it drag on. Deal with issues decisively. Cultivate self-worth in the child. Acknowledge the child's personal identity instilled in them by God. Children help form the parent also. Teach them authenticity by living it. Arrest your sins with the Lord's help or don't expect your children to. Reward obedience to God and parents. We as parents are only stewards of our children. If they disobey us we are creating a pattern of disobedience when it comes time for us to turn them over to God whom they rightfully belong to . If they disobey us and and rebel against us they will be the same way with the Lord. Better for us to teach and punish them now than to have them go errant and have them punished by God eternally. Understand also that the worst acts of evil can be perpetrated or found in the most structured and respected homes. Unresolved evils can fester into larger problems and can cause more evils. It is amazing how much evil can grow behind the closed doors of a seemingly "normal" home.

Some of the defining characteristics of a good parent (and believe me, I need to work on these too). They create a comfortable, loving, nurturing, Grace-filled home. Jesus described a man who was approachable and gracious. A parent willing to release a child totally when the time was appropriate. A parent willing to wait on God, worship God and be a good role model in all things holy and Godly. A parent that is willing to accept and forgive and restore a child. How many times do you allow reconciliation after someone has "blown it"?

I try to humble myself (and fail most of the time), I pray to find the problem and fix it, not find blame and affix the blame (guilty of this also). Operate with correct motives not selfish motives. Above all be patient as God is with us. Think about how long suffering God has been with humanity and it puts you trivial problems in perspective. They barely warrant notice let alone dwelling on them.

Children are a gift. You were a child once also. You still are a child (albeit a different type) even if you are 80 years old. You are God's child. If we have indifference towards our children we will have indifference towards God because we are not obeying His commands. Sometimes we are actually allowed to be punished here and are allowed to repent. How much punishment we are allowed to get here on earth before being given up to eternal punishment is a matter of grace and mercy. No parent likes to punish but if a parent doesn't punish, THEY should be punished

We are all branches from the vine and each successive generation produces new shoots/new life. Each successive shoot off the vine is only as healthy and productive as the previous branch it is attached to. When in Christ we can be like Him. Christ's life wasn't always a primrose path, He suffered for our sin. It is only because of Him we are allowed this merciful punishment rather than immediate death. To suffer is to gain.

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