Treat Your Children How You Want to be Treated
The Lord has been working on my heart in this area the past three years. I feel like I have slowly and painfully come to understand how God wants to use me in the lives of my children. Let me begin with this example from my own life.
I occasionally take each one of my children out for a special date where I can spend 1:1 time with them. I cherish this time because everything slows down for a moment and we can have some heart-to-heart conversations. I usually take this time to give some gentle correction on some sinful patterns I have noticed in the child I am spending time with. I also use this time to look into their hearts. Often, I will discover something that was going on that I didn’t realize.
Read the First Post in this Series: Your Child Has a Specific Purpose from God
About three years ago, I took my oldest out for a special treat. We had some great conversation. Towards the end of the date, I asked my son a question: “How can I be a better mama to you? Is there something I should be doing that I’m not doing or is there something I shouldn’t be doing that is bothering you?”
His answer stunned me. He carefully looked into my eyes and said, “I wish you wouldn’t yell at me so much. I get scared when you yell at me.” Oh, my goodness. Those words pierced my heart. I wrapped him in my arms and let out some tears. I looked into those beautiful blue eyes of his and I asked for forgiveness.
I realized at that moment that I was not treating my son like I wanted to be treated. My husband would never yell at me that way. I would never yell at a friend or a stranger that way. Why did I think it was okay to treat my child in such a manner that made him afraid of me?
I then realized that I had it all wrong. How was I to tell my children about a loving Father who sacrificed so much for us when their own mother (who was entrusted by the Lord to care for and instruct her children) was reacting so poorly to their behavior? I let my frustrations get the best of me. I let my anger rule over our home rather than love.
I repented and asked the Lord to show me how to treat my children. I am understanding more and more what my role is in being the mama to these five little children of mine. Let me share what the Lord has been teaching me through His Word.
The Golden Rule
Read: Matthew 22:36-40
This commandment is emphasized repeatedly through the Bible. As I have found in my study of the Bible, when something is repeated a lot, it is very important. Take notice!
Related Post: Speaking in Love
Showing love to our children is not a suggestion. It is a commandment. It is considered the second greatest commandment spoken out of Jesus’s mouth. (The first greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with every part of your being. – Matthew 22:36-40.) This commandment is not just for the times that our children obey us. No, we are called to love our children as we love ourselves.
Do Unto Others…
Read: Luke 6:31
I realized that as I was correcting my children on sinful areas in their lives, they needed to see a good example to follow. I do not expect perfection from my children. In fact, it is important for me to show my children that I am sinful, too. I want them to understand that being a Christian is a daily surrender to the Lord. It is asking God to look into our hearts to find areas that are not bringing Him glory.
I want to be the role model to demonstrate how to treat others. I want my children to be able to look at me and see that I am treating them how I want to be treated. Yes, children are under our authority, but they are people, too. They should be treated with love. I should show love to them as much as I love and look out for myself.
Read: John 13:34-35
There may be a day that one of my children will want to see proof of God and how He works in our lives. I pray that my daily walk will be testimony enough. I pray that when my own children look at my heart and the fruit that is produced from my walk, that they will know I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I pray that the love I demonstrate to them will pour out onto them so that they might know how much greater the love that their Father in Heaven has for them.
Related Post: Speaking With Kindness
I want to encourage you in this area. Look in your own heart. Pray and ask God to reveal any areas that you need to turn over to Him regarding showing love to your children. He will bring to the surface the things He wants you to work on. He wants to reach your heart. He cares for you and He cares for your children.
Applying the Golden Rule
What does this look like in real life? I get it. I have crazy days with my kids as I’m sure you do, too. I have triplet toddlers who are on a daily mission to test my every last ounce of patience. They have destroyed so much of my earthly treasures (favorite standing lamp that I had from when I was a newlywed, sheet music from when I sang at my sister’s funeral, basically anything they can get their little adorable hands on!). These toddlers seem to go deaf when I am asking them to obey. Even my older two have their trying moments. But, I am called to respond in a very specific way:
Read: James 1:19-20
- Be quick to hear.
- Be slow to speak.
- Be slow to anger.
I will touch on this verse more in depth next week. For now, linger on this verse and the requirements for showing love to your children. Love is being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.