The Doctors Lane

Choose Based on Love

You are not perfect and never will be perfect.  You are not God for your children and can never be.  So, acknowledging and accepting that you are going to make mistakes will spare you heartache.  Asking your child for forgiveness is actually a very good behavior to role model.  Some parents believe that admitting wrong shows weakness to their children, even when they are clearly in error; however, admitting when you are wrong role models taking responsibility for your own actions, a valuable lesson for children to receive. It is difficult to expect your children to accept responsibility for their choices if you are not willing to do so. 

Choosing based on love means choosing selflessness.  Basically, though, that means love for your children is at war with your sin nature  and your flesh (wanting what you want when you want it and listening primarily to your own desires).  Being a parent means being “third” in your house: God being first, family being second, and then you come in third. 

We believe, if our choices are made out of love, even when those choices prove to be mistakes on our part, the love is stronger and takes precedence over our poor choices.  Our motives matter, as Jesus teaches us.  When we do our very best to act out of love, the love itself ameliorates many poor results of our actions.  Jesus demonstrates by example that doing the right things for the wrong motives produces poor fruit.  So, you might think that a parent is “supposed” to act in a certain way, based on watching what other parents are doing, or you might worry what other people will think of you if your children act in a certain way and you don’t intervene in the way others expect, but if you have not asked if your action is the loving thing to do, and considered your own motivations, your response will not produce good fruit in your children. For example, are you intervening out of a desire to control? This motive is false and produces the fruit of rebellion in your children.

Discipline means teaching, it does not mean punishing.  Back to the premise of being intentional, you want to make sure you are teaching your child what you intend to teach them, and not teaching them things you did not intend.  Love as a foundational motive for parenting choices ameliorates a lot of those unintended consequences. 

Having said that, sometimes the loving thing to do seems harsh, and it may also be the most difficult thing you ever do.  Think of Jesus in the Temple.  He did not love the Pharisees or the moneychangers less than He loved His disciples; on the contrary, He loved them enough to speak the truth to them very directly and strongly, much to their chagrin.  Our children might not like to hear the truth, but the truth spoken in love carries great weight.

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