Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" - Part Three

Lie #3 - We believe that our suffering and our children’s suffering is a sign of God’s displeasure rather than a sign of God’s loving discipline and training. (Hebrews 12:5-11, Proverbs 3:11-12)

Why does it feel like when we go through tough times or our children struggle that this always means that we did something wrong and that God is punishing us for it? This misconception is so common that the Lord specifically addressed it as did Paul, James and Peter in the letters they wrote to the churches. In our culture, where popular Christian teaching has much “how to” emphasis that gives the impression that following certain formulas provide guarantees to parental success, this wrong thinking is rampant. So, on top of the real suffering our children or we may be experiencing, we take on the added burden of false guilt and feelings of isolation and failure.

This lie can be even more easily swallowed if the relationship with Dad growing up was either one of physical/emotional detachment or one of abuse. Then we have no personal experience of seeing discipline as the loving personal training of us as children. We cannot see our failures or tough times as opportunities for His intimate involvement and teaching in our lives. And we naturally transfer our feelings that we have about our fathers to our heavenly Father.

I know that I have learned much more of God’s heart during my tough times. I have felt His closeness and heard His voice speak from His word much more loudly. As C. S. Lewis has said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures but shouts at us in our pain.”

Thank you, Father, that when I or my children go through times of difficulty, even when those times are of our own making, you don’t withdraw and reject, neither do you shame nor punish in judgment. You poured all of the judgment that we deserved upon your own Son on the cross. I can face whatever difficulties so much better when I know you are faithfully using them to shape me and my family to become more like your Son, Jesus.

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1 comment:

Mpalmer said...

I agree that God does not want us to feel guilty when our parenting does not have the desired results.

When our children struggle I feel we not only need to look at their behavior but also our behavior as a parent.

We are all human and imperfect. There are possible changes we can make to help our children.

The blessing is that God can help our children change and God can help us as parents change if necessary.