(From the Mars Hill Blog)
I see your sin, and I raise it. | Parenting Sons
By Pastor Scott Thomas
A little while ago, one of our Mars Hill Pastors was about to have his first baby. I looked him in the eye and said, “Having a baby will bring you much joy and will sanctify you more than any other human experience.” He looked at me quizzically as if I said he was a rotten sinner. Six months later he came up to me and said, “You were right.”
Our children learn our sin
My wife, Jeannie, and I discovered three recurring sins in our lives that parenting brought out (among other sin, of course).
The first one was anger. Little people do not always do what we expect. We adults are angered easily and impatient. What usually upsets us is that our kids act just like we do toward our heavenly Father. We are disobedient, defiant and resistant to the good gifts that he offers us. Yet, God pursues us with a perfect love.
The second recurring sin was idolatry. Jeannie and I talk about how easily it is to put our kids before God. It is not intentional, but before we know it, we find ourselves worshiping our kids. We worship their interests, activities, and lives.
The third recurring sin was faithlessness. At times we do not trust that God loves and cares for our kids and their needs more than we do. We want to control our kids’ lives and take matters into our hands, but there’s no way we could do a better job than he does. Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Our kids are little sin mirrors. They are reminders of our sinful heart and our need for a savior. We see magnifications of our small sins in big ways in our children. They have not learned to filter their sins and accept the small sins as merely “human failures.” I saw one of my sons get angry while competing in a sports event. I addressed it, not as one who is always under control, but rather, as one who struggles with a similar sin. Their sins remind us of our need for ongoing sanctification. Sanctification is the process of being made holy through the merits and justification of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
The gospel is the real parent
If we were not believers as parents, we may have become abusive and lost respect from our kids. Maybe we would have raised kids who were self-centered. In any case, we would not have the close relationship that we have with our two sons now. And yet, we continue to filter every problem or challenge we face as a family through the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and empowerment through the Holy Spirit. Our boys value the gospel over everything else.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5–7