2 Corinthians 1:2
“2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
God. Our Heavenly Father.
What does that mean to you? I know it’s a phrase we often use to describe God, because Scripture tells us that God is our Father… but what does that mean? To You?
Our perception of God when described as a parent can be heavily influenced by our earthly parents, or for many, the lack thereof.
Maybe your earthly father was never around, or when he was, he was harsh, unforgiving, and demanding. Or, maybe you had a kind and caring father. Regardless of what your father has meant to you, once we have a meaning attributed to a word, it’s as if that meaning becomes the glasses through which you view anything attached to the word.
What has your view of God been throughout your walk? God is not the harsh, legalistic, demanding father He is often made out to be. God is a Loving Father who gives us boundaries for our own good. He allows pain because He has a loving plan for us.
As a mom, I’ve had to allow my son to go through the pain of the shots at his regular well-child visits because I knew the vaccines were for his health. It broke my heart as he played and smiled, having no idea what was about to happen, but I gladly cuddled him while he cried and recovered from the ordeal. I picture God looking at us with sadness when we’re facing painful experiences in life – Because He’s a loving Father. I want my son to always know that if I allow something like that to happen, it’s because I love him.
I want my son to know that when I tell him “no”, and when I put him in Time-Out because he wasn’t listening, it is because I love him too much to give him the control he’s not mature enough to have. I want him to know that even when he’s not happy about the decisions I make, he can trust me to have his best interest in mind. I want him to know that I’m not going to be removing privileges for my own enjoyment, but because there is something he needs to learn so he can have a safer, happier life.
I want my son to know these things because it is my responsibility as his mother to model to him the love of God –as a parent. If I were to allow him to be disrespectful to me, to disobey without consequence, to have the control before he has the maturity to know what to do with it, how in the world could I ever expect him to respect our Heavenly Father? If I were to allow him to exhibit such behavior, I would be teaching him that it’s acceptable. He may know (through scoldings or repeated, empty warnings) that I’d prefer he not do such things, but he would not understand respect to be an expectation. Preferences and expectations are two entirely different things.
Please, teach your children that respect is an expectation and not just a preference. It is your responsibility as parents to teach them who God is, as their Heavenly Father. Make your time with them count – they grow up so quickly.