“You honor your sons more than me…” 1 Samuel 2:29b
God’s word is complete even for parenting in 2018. 1 Samuel shares a principle parents need to hear: Do you honor your children more than God?
It’s an eye-opening question. You strive to raise good kids. You want them to represent your family well. You want them to embrace Christ as their Savior. But in efforts to parent well, do you leave God by the wayside?
God posed this question to Eli, the High Priest, whose sons dishonored Him. They corrupted the sacrifice, intimidated parishioners, and had sex with women at the tabernacle gate.
God rebuked Eli because he turned a blind eye to what his sons were doing. Are you tempted to turn a blind eye to your child’s behavior?
Eli, a pastor, honored his children more than God. He ignored their vile behavior and misrepresentation of God. God took the offense seriously. In fact, he ended all three of their lives.Likewise, God takes our parenting seriously in relation to His holiness.
Where does this question find you? Even the best-meaning parents fall in the trap of indulging and enabling a child’s sin more than honoring and loving God. God’s asking you: Do you honor your children more than me?
Consider these questions to determine if you put your children above God (even if you’re a parent of adult kids):
1. Do you dishonor God by compromising His values for the culture’s as you raise kids? What TV shows, apps, movies, or video games do you allow them to watch or play? Do the storylines honor God or dishonor Him?
2. When your kids ask to do something because everyone’s doing it, do you allow it against your better judgement because you want them to fit in? Do you justify what you allow them to do because you fear they won’t be popular or they’ll be made fun of?
3. Do you ignore, overlook, or justify your child’s sin nature when it needs corrected? If your teen gets in trouble, do you blame others involved or ignore the possibility your child may have had a part? Do you find yourself saying, “My child couldn’t possibly have done that!”
4. Do you indulge your children by giving them what they ask for, even at financial cost or personal regret? Do you feel trapped by your children’s requests? Who controls ultimate decisions in these matters – you or your children?
5. How do you enable your child? Do you do things for them they should do themselves? Do you justify their misconduct or blame others for their mistakes, lack of responsibility, or failed relationships?
6. Does your desire to see your teen happy outweigh the pain of natural consequences they receive from poor choices? Do you remove consequences or fail to discipline because of their pleading, emotions, or power-struggles?
7. What is the ratio of children’s activities and sports in relation to church or faith-based activities? Do you make a habit of missing church for sports-related activities? What overall message does your family schedule give to your children concerning God’s priorities?
8. Do you forgo tithing or short-change God financially so you can give your children the material things they want? Do you honor your teen’s material demands or give to God first?
9. Do you value your role as mom or dad as your priority above your relationship with God? Do you omit time in His word and prayer because you’re “too busy” with kids activities or social events?
10. Do you love your children more than your heavenly Father?
It’s tempting to think being a parent is your highest priority. In truth, God wants to be first above all things or before any other relationship. He is jealous that we honor Him before our spouse or children.
When you honor God first, effective parenting follows. (For a complete handbook on this topic, check out Fledge).
At the end of the day, God is who we answer to as parents. Your children, peers, or family members may not understand why you make “old-fashioned” parenting decisions, but they aren’t who you answer to.
What parenting changes do you need to make to be more honoring of God, and less absorbed by your children (or grandkids)?
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