The Role of a Parent
The role of a parent is to connect to the heart of his or her child in such a way he or she prepares that child to more easily connect to the heart of God.
Notice I didn't say teach them the Bible, pray with them, take them to church, teach them to obey, discipline them, make sure they know good doctrine, and have a biblical worldview. These are all great "parts" of the bigger picture. They all have a place within the on-going spiritual responsibilities of a Christian parent. But they can be transferred academically or by memory without a heart connection to the child and ultimately have very little impact on the finished spiritual product.
Without a heart connection, these "parts" are little more than exercises and information. It is within the context of a heart relationship that these vital spiritual tools have an influence on the divine grit and spiritual resolve of a child.
When I say "heart connection," . . . I'm talking about a level of relationship that is so deeply felt in the heart it automatically inclines the people involved towards mutual honor, joy, respect, appreciation, and the desire to consistently pursue the other person's good.
We may never say it out loud, but there develops in many followers of Jesus this subtle sense that our primary purpose is to impress God and appease Him by obeying Him; that somehow, God's kindness, blessings, and watch-care are contingent on our day-to-day behavior. Obedience is a wonderful and logical response to the love of God on our behalf, but it can become a toxic feature of our relationship with Him if we're obeying God for all the wrong reasons -- biblically-flawed reasons. . . .
We're predisposed to created a church environment that panders to people who are more in line with our behavioral checklist. Next thing you know we're creating all kinds of noble, but man-made, systems to prop up our nice Christian behavior -- an outside-in management plan for our spiritual deportment that takes the place of the work of God the Holy Spirit. Here comes the pride, followed by our self-righteousness.
This is what happens when we leave the grace that save us at the foot of the cross. . . .
Too often local and domestic churches are either missing or seriously struggling to maintain the atmosphere of grace that was supposed to be permeating all of their teaching and relationships. . . .
We're quick to embrace the part of the story that's easiest to quantify -- like orthodoxy and biblical truth -- but struggle to wrap our hearts around that part of the story that requires us to be more honest about our fragile natures and more forthright about how these foibles blur our faith picture.
God's grace was supposed to be the part of the story that neutralized these tendencies. . . . But grace doesn't allow itself to be embraced as an academic exercise. It requires humility, brokenness, and an almost reckless surrender to God's transforming impact in our lives.
- On Moralistic Teaching
- The Bible Is NOT an Instruction Manual
- Conversation with Paul Trip and Elyse Fitzpatrick: Parenting and the Gospel
- Don't Raise Good Kids