A Better Parent

Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

I saw a FB post of a conversation between a mother and daughter. The daughter asked why she couldn’t buy something at the sales event they were at and the mother said they make the money so they can buy. This implying that the daughter can buy when she makes the money. One of her friends posted a picture showing a light switch, the cooktop burner, a water faucet, and food, all with gift bows on them. It amazes me how we think. Our children ask for something and we point to the things we give them that they need, when our children are asking for things they want. One of my friends had her child working for her in her shop, but when the time came to pay him, she pointed to the food in the refrigerator as his payment. I got onto her for that because he cannot learn about earning money if he is not getting paid. By not paying him, they are just frustrating him, and he will learn no work ethics.

What would happen if God did the same to us?

When we pray and ask God for a better car because ours is having problems. What would you do if God put a gift bow on your feet and told you to walk. Or when we pray and ask God for a new job and you woke up the next morning to find gift bows on the sun, atmosphere, and the earth. How would you feel as a child of God if you asked for something you want and God told you that He already gives you what you need. Or what about the preacher who works and works and when he asked God to be paid, God pointed him in the direction of the church’s food pantry.

Sometimes we forget that when God gave us the gift of our children that it was an unwritten agreement that we would care for them, cloth them, provide for them. We promised we would give our children the things they need. That is called being a parent. Being a better parent is sometimes giving to your child what they want. Not because we should spoil them, but because it gives our heart joy to see our children happy. I know that we give to our children at Christmas, but that only comes around once a year. And let me tell you, having the love language of gift giving and only getting a gift once a year…it sucks.

My point to all this is to provide for your children but don’t throw it in their face when they ask for something more. God doesn’t do that. And when they do ask for more than you can give, make them earn it by paying them for chores. I know some parents give their children chores to do around the house, but with the amount of school work the teachers expected, my daughters didn’t have time for chores. When they were too young to work, and they wanted something more, I gave them a list of chores to do to earn money.

We are our children’s first authority figure in their lives. We should teach them about rules and the consequence of breaking them. We should teach them about money and using it wisely. We should teach them about responsibility and what happens when it is put into the hands of the wrong people. We should teach them about love and what happens when it is misdirected. We should teach them about honesty and the consequence of lying. We should teach them about community and the benefits of helping others.

Think about what God has done for you and how He has handled His children. And then model His example.

Pearls Before…

Matthew 7:6
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

If you will recall a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about a girlfriend of mine who was trying to stay with a boyfriend who didn’t love nor respect her. The good news is that she is out of that situation. The bad news is that she is back into a similar situation with another man. When she called and cried about the boyfriend kicking her out, I gave her advice about what to do. 1) Don’t go back into another relationship too soon. Let yourself heal, 2) Remember God is willing to help you heal and help you find someone He desires for you if you wait on Him, 3) Get back into church where she could be surrounded by people who will help her to grow in God, and 4) When she does meet someone else, make sure he is a strong Christian. She is weak, she needs someone strong. A week later she called to tell me she met someone. I told her that wasn’t a good idea. She said they were taking it slow. I asked her if he was a Christian. She said, “He said he believes in God.” Isn’t that what the ex said, too? By the next week, they had already started sleeping together. He lives on the opposite side of the metroplex and she drives there to give him what he wants. When I heard this I was in shock. Not only did she not follow my advice, but she is back in the same situation she was just three weeks earlier. When I confronted her about the bad decisions she was making, she defended her actions and then said, “It’s not like I’m murdering someone or robbing someone. I’m a good person, and I believe I am in a better situation than I was before.”

Lies that she believes and that we all tend to fall victim to.

1. Getting into a new relationship after just getting out of another one is good. FALSE. When you give yourself intimately to someone you are make yourself one with them. When that is torn apart, it tears at your soul. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to only have sexual relations with your spouse. (I Cor. 6:16). Being in a relationship so soon after coming out of a serious one is just a band aid for a hemorrhage of pain you are suffering.

2. Why do we have to wait? No one waits anymore. DECEPTION. Although we live in the 21st Century, as Christians our values, morals, and beliefs are rooted in God’s Word that goes back to the beginning of time. Living as the world lives is never good, especially for a Christian. As Christians, we should strive to be Christ-like. Not in step with the world. In step with God (John 17:16).

3. I am in a much better place than I was before. FALSE. Making the same bad decisions leads to the same bad results. Albert Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” When God cleans our house and we do not put the Holy Spirit in there to fill the void, evil comes back seven fold (Matt. 12:45). We must fill ourselves with God or we are worse off than before, no matter what we think.

4. At least I’m not a murderer. YES, YOU ARE. James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point he has become guilty of all.” When you break one part of the law, you break all of the law. We are all guilty of breaking all of the law. We are all sinners.

5. I’m a good person. FALSE. We all like to think we are “good.” But Jesus said in Luke 18:19 that “No one is good except God alone.” Jesus didn’t even call himself good. Don’t compare yourself with people. Compare yourself with Jesus. When we do that, none of us are good. In Isaiah 64:6, it says our good deeds are like filthy rags. When trying to measure up your deeds, compare them with what Jesus did, not what other people do or don’t do.

As I sat and listened to my friend go on and on lying to herself that she is in a better place than she was before, it irritated me that she didn’t listen to me. At all. It gave me a fractional taste of what God goes through every single day. How many times have I asked Him for advice or for truth only to not listen to him? How many times have I sought His council only to turn a deaf ear to it just so I can do what my flesh desires? I can tell you, too many times to count.

There is an old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Such a true statement. My friend will get hurt again. And my friend will call wanting a shoulder to cry on. And she will be in this vicious cycle until she opens her eyes to see her own self worth and the value God has placed upon her. I will be here for her as a sounding board, a soggy shoulder, and a friend. But my prayers will be for her eyes to be opened. So that when that day comes, when she puts the needs of her spirit over the wants of her flesh, I will rejoice with her.