When my son, Scott, was preparing to go away to college I told him I wasn’t going to miss him at all. He replied, “I would never believe that no matter what you say.”
Why was that his first reply? Why didn’t he say, “Mom, how could you say that?” I know the reason (besides I was joking). He knows I love him with every fiber of my being and nothing would ever make him doubt that. He is totally secure in my love.
During a question and answer segment of a Bible study I taught in my home on parenting, Scott said something I’ve never forgotten about what it was like to grow up in our home. He said, “I never felt like a bother, no one wants to feel like a bother.”
Someone may read those two stories about Scott and think, “What a cocky kid he was. How dare someone feel no doubt about how loved they were. He needs a little humbling.” To that, I would answer, “You better not say that to me LOL.”
“I was a very strict parent when it came to discipline, but my children felt the warmth and love of God’s Spirit even when I was stern (I begged God for this in my prayer time, it is not natural to us).”
The way I looked at what Scott said is that it was a great compliment to me and his dad. It made me feel as if we had done something right as parents. Why? Because I knew Scott realized that even in our imperfections, he never doubted our motives or our love. He felt our hearts behind all we did and he trusted us. I was a very strict parent when it came to discipline, but my children felt the warmth and love of God’s Spirit even when I was stern (I begged God for this in my prayer time, it is not natural to us).
I was very honest with my children as they were growing up. I told them before I got saved I was a big liar. I warned them against lying so they didn’t grow hard and cold toward their dad and me. I explained how it would drive a wedge between us and eventually between them and God. I brought a copy of the Ten Commandments home from church years ago, and Andrew said, “Mom, how many of those have you broken?”
I said, “All of them except murder and I’ve done that one in my heart so it counts. So I guess the answer is, all of them.”
“If your child comes to you in confession, be like God and accept them with open arms.”
You would think that would repulse my children, but it didn’t. My honesty and my openness made me the first person they would run to when they did something right and when they did something wrong. When they came to me in their failures, I took that as an opportunity to show them grace, like God does for us. If your child comes to you in confession, be like God and accept them with open arms. Forgive them and tell them how proud you are of them. Having to find out on your own they have done something terrible is one thing. Having them come to us in brokenness and regret is beautiful. That’s a sign of deep trust.
I heard a quote that I’ve never forgotten. “Rebellion is a lack of relationship.” We don’t normally rebel against someone we trust and love deeply.
“What is one of the greatest compliments we ever give God? Believing we are completely loved and cherished by Him and never doubting His motives.”
What is one of the greatest compliments we ever give God? Believing we are completely loved and cherished by Him and never doubting His motives.
I was able to handle sin in my children’s lives as they grew up (both boys had some pretty big moral failures). Sin never bothered me that badly. You may gasp at that statement but it’s the truth. I expected sin. They are sinners. I always prayed their true selves would be evident after they left the safety of a homeschooled environment. I knew sequestering them at our house did not have any power to produce holiness in them. Their problem was not the culture, their problem was they were born in sin and their very nature was hostile to God. I wanted their failures to make them hopeless enough in their own goodness to drive them straight to God.
I’ll never forget Scott confessing something to me while we were on our way to Arby’s while he was in college. I didn’t flinch and I looked at him with love and pity. I was so glad it happened and that he told me. Why? Because that act was what convinced him that he didn’t know God and brought him to salvation. As parents, the way we react to their sin is the way they will think God reacts to their sin. The Bible tells us exactly how He does.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Most people don’t realize what a “two for one” that scripture is. If we confess the sin we do know we have committed, God will cleanse us from all sin we have committed. Can I share a secret? We have no idea how much we sin. All He asked is that we talk to Him about what we do know.
“If we don’t believe God loves us, we will only try to perform for Him and then run from Him when we fail.”
If we don’t believe God loves us, we will only try to perform for Him and then run from Him when we fail. I believe that truth is one of the things that breaks God’s heart above all things.
The reason this blog even came to my mind was because I finished the book of John. What impressed me about John more than anything is how he referred to himself; “the one Jesus loved.” He said it six times.
Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”
“When we are sure of God’s love for us above every other thing, we are invincible in this world.”
Those words made it into scripture so they obviously didn’t upset Jesus. John gave Him one of the greatest compliments He could ever receive from one of His children. He knew how dearly and tenderly he was loved by Jesus Christ. When we are sure of God’s love for us above every other thing, we are invincible in this world. No one has the power to destroy us because of what we know about our God and His feelings about us.
When horrible things happen (and they will), we run to the One who loves us. In Him, we will find everything we need to make it through anything and everything we go through. His Presence will be our comfort.
“The most miserable people I know are the ones who doubt God’s love.”
The most miserable people I know are the ones who doubt God’s love. I think it breaks His heart and grieves Him like nothing else. People think it’s a small thing to say “I don’t understand why God would do this to me.”
Wrapped up in that statement is this…God doesn’t love me and I can’t trust His heart.
My children never feel the need to perform for me. That thought would not enter their mind. That’s a compliment to me, not to them. That is proof that I loved them well.
“When we know we are loved by God unconditionally, it is a compliment to Him not us.”
When we know we are loved by God unconditionally, it is a compliment to Him not us. It is a confirmation of His character, not ours. We don’t deserve His love on any level, yet He loves us and always has our best interest at heart.
Unless we know He loves us, there is no way we will ever love Him, our neighbor, or ourselves. Ask God today for one that one thing. He even gave us a prayer to pray. I suggest we all memorize it and pray it for ourselves until it becomes our greatest reality.
I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.