When God created humanity, He created family. His desire for a family, I believe, came from the relationship within Himself, the Trinity. Though we think of and refer to God as being male, Scripture tells us that He created both men and women in His likeness. Without going into a lot of detail, I believe the Holy Spirit displays the feminine side of God. I wrote an article on this some time ago, if you haven’t read it, you can do so here. So family, humanly speaking, is an extension and overflow of the family that exists within the Trinity.
We are God’s sons and daughters. We are capable of producing sons and daughters, both biologically and spiritually. Everything in the natural is a picture of a far greater spiritual reality. (1 Cor. 15:46) As biological, or natural, parents, we are responsible to help guide and teach our children, disciplining them as we see fit, until they reach maturity. The same is true of spiritual parents. Parenting is not about controlling our children. When children are raised by controlling parents, they become controlling parents, as the sins of the father and mother are passed down the family line. It matters not if they are our biological or spiritual children. (I’m not ignoring adopted children here, the same applies to them as well).
In order for children, natural or spiritual, to reach maturity, they must be given the freedom and opportunity to make choices for themselves. This is of critical importance, even when those choices are poor ones. Failing to do so will create victims, people who refuse to take responsibility for their choices, who blame shift when they make mistakes. Our society is full of victims now, we certainly don’t need anymore. I’m not saying we should let them do things that are illegal, obviously; if they are doing something to hurt themselves or others, we should intervene whenever possible.
People, including children, learn best by making mistakes and then dealing with the consequences of those mistakes. If we continually correct them, chastise them when they fail, or bail them out when they get in trouble, we are robbing them of their chance to develop wisdom. Yes, it is hard to watch our children suffer, but we must if they are going to become mature. Parents who must control their children’s choices and behavior do so out of their own insecurity and fear of their children reflecting negatively upon them. This, in essence, is putting your own needs and desires above those of your children. In addition, it is helping to foster a fear of failure that is difficult to get free from.
Children need lots of encouragement and affirmation. I’ve heard it said that it takes twenty positive statements to counter one negative one. As parents, we should be our children’s biggest fans and greatest cheerleaders. They sure won’t get that from the world, and if they don’t get it from us, they will live life always looking for it in their relationships, accomplishments, career, etc., none of which can substitute or satisfy that need. Scripture says that if God is for us, who can be against us? He is for us even in our weakness, brokenness, and sinfulness. When we have the assurance of our parent’s love and acceptance, we will have confidence to face the critics that are out there.
When a child knows his parents love him unconditionally – no matter what – they are free to grow into their mature identity as a much loved child. When they know they will not be rejected in the face of failure, they will feel the freedom to take risks which are so important to walking by faith. All good parents want their children to exceed what they have accomplished in life, and will do all that is in their power to help them do that. If you want to raise mature biological or spiritual sons and daughters, you will make whatever sacrifices are necessary. We must remember they really belong to God and are given to us as gifts we must steward wisely.