Friday, November 25, 2016
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Our grandson was just about six months old, but it was obvious even then that he and his Mother had a very close relationship. In fact, I noticed back then an interesting dimension of their connectedness. There will be a sudden loud noise or a rowdy outburst by someone-like me for example-and you could tell that my grandson didn't know how he should respond. So instinctively he looked at his mother. His mother knew that, and she had learned how important it was for her to look calm and unfazed, no matter what was coming down. See, he studied her reaction for a moment and then he just obviously decided to do what she did, respond the same way; no tears, no fear. "Hey, Mom's OK. I'm OK."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Showing Your Child How to Live."
Babies just instinctively look to a parent – have you ever noticed? – to see how they should react, even after those babies aren't babies anymore. In so many ways, our children are the products of how we program them with our responses to life.
God underscores the importance of this parental shaping in our word for today from the Word of God in Deuteronomy 11, "Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: His majesty, His mighty hand, His outstretched arm." So, God says, "Fix these words of Mine in your hearts and minds. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
Notice where our children will learn the ways of God in the classroom of everyday life. In the real life experiences and situations, more than in some formal teaching time. They're going to watch and listen to us in those times, and they're going to learn how they should act, for better or for worse. They won't be shaped primarily by all the formal teaching, but by those informal times when they see the real difference a real God makes in real things.
So as your son or daughter looks to you to learn how to respond, what are they learning? When problems come and they look your way, do they see prayer and trusting God, or worrying and complaining? Are they learning to respond to frustrations by seeing patience in you or anger? Is it integrity they see, or do they see cutting corners and compromise when they look at you? Are they learning prejudice or are they learning the unconditional love of Christ?
Looking at you, Mom or Dad, does your child see forgiving grievances or harboring grievances; bringing them back over and over again? Do they see peace or do they see stress? Are they hearing words that encourage people or words that criticize and tear people down?
The fact is, children learn what they live. Old saying/true saying, "They learn what they live." And when we know we're showing them an approach to life that is hurtful and wrong, it can be a pretty powerful incentive to finally let Jesus be the Lord of that weakness in us. You know, when it was just us and we were driving on a bad road, it only affected us. But guess what? Now, as parents, we're taking them with us everywhere we go.
If you can't find any other reason for opening up a sinful part of you to Christ's control, would you do it for your precious son or daughter, "Lord, for his sake, for her sake, I just can't be this way anymore!"
Because like a certain baby I remember and love, your child is looking your direction to decide how to live. And whatever you sow in them, you and they will spend a lifetime reaping.