Previously: family law, part three
Our greatest challenge in applying the Family Law in our home was not in requiring the children to obey it. It came in requiring us as the parents to obey it.
Did I obey the Lord immediately when He asked me to do something? Did I respect Dad as I should, and did Dad respect me as he should? Did we argue in front of the children, or get nasty in a marital spat? Did we complain to the children about the other, or in any way show disrespect? Was I respecting myself if I did not practice self-control in my diet? Are we as parents respecting our possessions if we procrastinate with the house cleaning or the home repair or lawn upkeep? (In home schooling and home business families, time is at a premium, and this is so easy to do.) Do we model respect for society’s authority by obeying the speed limit or seat belt laws? Do we carefully practice self-control and honoring others by guarding our tempers and our tongues?
As parents, we quickly learned they we had three options, when we began requiring obedience to the Family Law for our children. One, if we were unwilling to also be disciplined and obey, we could abandon teaching the Law to our children and allow them to have their own way, or only provide weak, inconsistent, or half- hearted discipline for them, because deep down we were wrestling with guilt ourselves. It is an option that many families choose, but our children will not respect us, or our Lord, if we follow that path.
Two, we could be hypocrites and ask our children to adhere to a code of behavior that we were unwilling to make ourselves adhere to. This grew up in this option. Our children will not respect us, or our Lord, if we follow this path.
Or three, we can bow the knee before God as Lawgiver and find out if we really mean what we say in church when we proclaim Jesus Lord. We can do our level best, and maybe fail sometimes, and have to humble ourselves before our family and ask for forgiveness once in a while. We can teach our children by example that we can choose to obey God. We can teach our children that we walk together, and learn together, and cry together, and love together, and forgive together, and grow together, all in this adventure of living in a relationship with the Lord Jesus.
The greatest learning, the greatest growth, and the greatest challenge of my life has been in requiring the same discipline and obedience, the same commitment to paying respect, of myself that I required of my children, and now that they are grown and on their own, I am still learning it, and will most likely be until I go home to Jesus.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” whether we choose to train them to be lax and self-willed, to be hypocrites, or to be servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.