Monday, February 25, 2013


It's amazing how things my kids do remind me of my own struggles as a Christian. Yesterday, my husband and I had our girls outside to play because in our neck of the woods it was warm enough to go jacketless with a long-sleeved t-shirt. Our 3 year-old, Sweet Pea ran around our largish front yard happily. Our almost 14 month-old, Doll Baby had a different idea. The only place she wanted to play was in the road. She would run that stiff little toddler run toward the road, I would head her off, turn her around (in a vain attempt to show her the huge area in which she could play) and she would promptly turn around and charge for the road again. Rather than looking at the large yard behind her, she insisted on focusing on the one area in which she was being told "no." She didn't realize that it was for her own personal safety.

I often wonder how often I do that myself with more grown-up things. Occasionally, when I flip through the channel guide after the girls are in bed to find a program to watch while I relax, I come across certain shows that I had been convicted to give up and haven't watched in a long time (months or years). How often I'm tempted to watch "just once" because "It's only once. What's the big deal?" Maybe there's a danger in me watching that show that God knows that I don't. Maybe those particular shows will plant seeds of accepting sin in my life? Maybe they'll harm my witness if non-Christian friends and family knew I watched them? I'm thinking all of the above.

This whole thing reminds me that I am to be my children's example. If they see me disobeying God and disrespecting His authority in my life by doing things I shouldn't do, saying words I shouldn't say, gossiping, being unsubmissive to my husband, being lazy instead of getting the housework done, putting off reading the Bible, etc. why wouldn't they have a hard time respecting my authority? I'm never going to be perfectly obedient to God's will just as my kids will never be perfectly obedient to the will of my husband and I because we are human. Why though should I expect them to have a heart attitude of cheerful obedience and respect for my authority and boundaries I set if they are seeing me having inconsistently positive (and sometimes begrudging) attitude toward obedience to God and His boundaries? "Do as I say, not as I do" leadership just doesn't work if one expects the ones under their authority to obey AND have a good attitude. Double standards only serve to cause bitterness in the hearts of children. I'm not talking about the differences in what one can do that come from parental authority or age. I'm talking about the parent who lazily lounges on the couch and failing to diligently fulfill their own responsibilities while lecturing their child for not doing their chores, the parent who cusses a blue streak when they're angry and then turns around and punishes their child for saying "butt," etc.

I guess the bottom line is that I want my children to grow up to be strong, mature Christians. If I am not setting the example as their mother and showing them God's love and how His boundaries are GOOD things, why would they view the boundaries my husband and I set (or the boundaries God sets in His Word) as being good? If I am to be used of God to help bring my children to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, I must not only teach them God's Word, but set the example for them when it comes to following it (and repenting and turning from sin or a bad attitude with the help of the Lord when I fail). Otherwise, if and when they come to saving knowledge and obedience to the Word, it will be despite having me as their mother rather than because God used me in their lives to show them the way to Him. How sobering a thought is that?

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1 comment:

  1. It's definitely true that we must be examples to our children in both word and deed. When we say one thing but do the opposite, younger children are confused and older children see it as hypocritical. Hypocrisy is a big turn-off when our kids get old enough to make their own decisions on spiritual matters. I'm hosting my Homemaking Linkup Weekend and would love to have you join, if you haven't already!

    Mrs. Sarah Coller