Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Living Through Your Children

The Bible says that children are a gift from the Lord and a good thing (Psalms 127:3-5). But like all good things, they can take the place that only God Himself should have in our lives. Not having any children, I am hesitant to speak about the dangers of making children too important. But it does not require much observation to see people trying to live their life through their children or smothering their children with a controlling type of affection. Now I do not want to get on my high horse. For all I know, if I had children I would fall into the same kind of errors. But we need to see the pitfalls involved here. C. S. Lewis, in The Four Loves, points out that when you make a normal human love into a god, it becomes a devil. Anything other than God that we put in the center of our life is destructive, because it is only God who is an adequate object for us to love with all that we are (Deuteronomy 6:4,5; Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 1:18-25). Children can be a particular problem in this respect because we raise them to let them go. At least that is the ideal.  

It is easy to try to control or to live our life through another person. But this is dangerous for them and dangerous for us. But it is particularly dangerous with children, because while it may at least appear to work in the beginning, there is a natural tendency at some point for them to rebel and, if they feel controlled, to jump in the opposite of the direction you want them to go. Or, perhaps even worse, to become what the parents want them to be rather than what God wants them to be. Now I am not suggesting that parents should not raise their children in the truth of God (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6; 23:24). Much less do I want to encourage our present culture’s opposition to children because they interfere with our living our lives the way we want to. But trying to order our lives around another human being or human beings cannot work. We must rather start with God in the center, and the other parts of our life will fall into perspective. Ultimately this means being willing to entrust one’s children to God (Psalms 127:1,2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Hebrews 11:17-19). But I fear I am not the one to tell anyone how to do that. Only to note that it needs to be done.

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