Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What’s The Point?

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."  1 Timothy 1:5
“Eat your beans.” “Why?”  “Don’t touch that!”  “Why?”  “Stay out of the street!” “Why?”  “Put that down.” “Why?”  “No, you can’t have a cookie right before dinner.”  “Why?” “Please stop poking the cat in the eye!”  “Why?”  “Mommy and Daddy want to be alone for a while.” “Why?”
From practically the moment a child learns to speak, they begin to ask “Why.”  As they get older, and begin to mature in their thinking…a bit…they begin not only to question why, but to evaluate for themselves whether or not the answer they receive for why is a valid answer.
Ultimately, a parent succumbs to the temptation to use that phrase that they silently swore they would never use… “Because I said so!”  We hated that answer as kids.  We wanted something and when we were denied, we wanted an answer we could agree with.  “Because I said so” did not fit that description.  It just compounded what we already felt was unfair.  We wanted what we wanted, and that was that.  We couldn’t see…we couldn’t comprehend the larger lesson to be learned.
“Well you see, Timmy…”
1950’s sitcoms were all about moral lessons.  Every episode was wrapped up nicely by the end of the half hour.  Generally, there was a meeting between the father figure and the affected child figure where the father figure would spell out clearly the moral lesson of that situation: “You see Timmy, the reason we had to give Scraps a new home was that Old Man Cooper is all alone now.  And Scraps will be able to help him around the house.” “Gee Pop, but I’ll miss him so much!”  “I know son.  I know.  But now you won’t have anymore half eaten slippers!”  Child laughs. “Yeah.” And they embrace. The laugh track would sound, the closing theme would play, and the closing credits would roll.  Scene.
This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you
It is the hardest thing we ever do…raising children into mature, contributing, moral members of society.  We have visions of lessons they need to learn.  Heartaches they will have to endure.  Indulgences that they will need to learn to deny for themselves…or suffer the consequences for. 
There are spiritual goals as well, aren’t there?  Paul was spelling this out to Timothy, his spiritual son, in the passage above.  "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."  God doesn’t want us to remain spiritual children forever. Often, when we are in the midst of not getting what we feel we deserve, we feel we are in no state of mind to be able to absorb the “You see, Timmy…” message that is God’s intent for that purpose.
The Point of it All…
If we are wise, we will strive to keep teaching our children…and not merely correcting.  Likewise, we will keep our eyes open for higher truths that our Heavenly Father may be trying to get our attention for.  James says:  “Consider it all joyful when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2  The point of it all is that God wants for us what we want for our kids…he wants us to grow up in all aspects.  See Ephesians 4:15.
As parents, we will endure the Why’s, and the Not Fair’s, and the barrage of arguments as to why our way is not best.  And we will strive to hang in there…being consistent, patient, long suffering, and teaching, confident that “He who has begun a good work in us (and our children) will be faithful to complete it.
Scripture to Claim: “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it..” Proverbs 22:6

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