Wednesday, May 07, 2003
To Parents - Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt:
You can never hold on to your children - but the Savior can hold on to them. You cannot force anything through your own understanding. You can only do something when you, the parents, are repentant and broken. Then Jesus can grow in you. Everything in us of human greatness, every human characteristic, must be cleared out of the way, for these are the obstacles that prevent the Savior from dwelling in us. All children, big and small, want to come to the Savior; but if you try to drag them into the kingdom of heaven through piety, they will run out of your pious house faster than children of other houses that are often more enlightened.
In your hearts, then, you must use the Spirit's sword against yourselves. Do not blame your children when they go wrong - blame yourselves! Discipline yourselves by taking the sword against your own hearts. For as parents it is our fault if our children do not behave well.
It's important to me to raise godly children - a young man and young woman who will both make the right choices, be a servant to others, lead by example, live with Christ in their lives. While I cannot choose for my kids, I can "die to self" - living repentant and broken before Christ in front of them.
I had a run in with Trace this morning. I hate answering NO all the time, but they keep asking the same questions. This morning, I felt merciful and let them watch TV during breakfast - bad move. Every little thing was wrong after that, and it got us all off on the wrong foot. In light of this passage from Blumhardt above, the only thing missing might've been my own brokenness. I only "blame myself" so much as I was the one who allowed it to start instead of standing firm in what we've stated as The Rule in our home. In wanting to be nice and give them something, I caved to allowing greed and pride come in, allowing rebellion in by rebelling against my own rules... hmmm?
I think what I'm sensing is the need for us to be real. "Setting the pace" by living it out should be more meaningful in our homes than "who will govern," should set the pace for the governing, perhaps. We need to raise kids who make the right choices, who want to please their parents and their Father, because they WANT TO, right? That means taking the tough stand through the HAVE TO stage of obedience, but real brokenness before God has to translate to openness and brokenness before our families, too - showing the reward of making those choices by displaying the fruit of the spirit. We need to put "disciple" back into "discipline" if it's going to work and this stronghold might be demolished in our generation.
Anyway, it's not easy being a dad, and harder still to be a spiritual father. But God is good and faithful (and my wife is patient beyond words). We'll press on and press through - 'til summer vacation anyway.