Saturday, November 01, 2014

Correcting My Children

I was asked how I handled it when my children needed correction. 

It's always the choice they made that gets the adjective. I believe that is a very important distinction. If you call them unwise, there is no room for them to do better. Ex: "You are wrong." If you give that label to the decision and build their person up at the same time, they understand it is in their control to make wiser choices. "You made the wrong choice, and it has consequences. I know you can make smarter choices." A wise woman builds!

Scripture is clear there are times to rebuke and expose sin. In ministry and our personal lives, I have seen where it has been beneficial when dealing with very hardened hearts that have a pattern of causing harm to themselves and others. However, I do not believe rebuking is needed in a repentant person who feels ashamed and is making an effort to make amends. God resists and rebukes the proud, BUT He shows grace to the humble person. Grace in parenting is a beautiful thing!

I tell my repentant child something like this: "What you chose to do was wrong. It has affected you and others in ..this.. manner. You have lost in ways. Others see you as You will lose through these corrective measures (if applicable). Now listen carefully to me, you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God who loves you more than words can describe. You are a new creation, righteous and holy, co-heir with Christ, chosen and called by God to produce fruit and into the ministry of reconciliation now that you are born again by the Holy Spirit! He made you for a purpose, and this isn't fulfilling that purpose. He also gave you an incredible family who is counting on you to do the right things. We need you to help us draw closer to the Lord too. You are also too intelligent and have too much going for you to keep making bad decisions. I know you will make better decisions in the future because you are at your core, a person who loves the Lord and wants better than this situation. 

Take some time right now to think about what steps you can take to keep yourself from landing in this position again. What would you do differently if you had the chance? Do you regret the shame you put on God's name? the pain you caused others? What is in your power to make this situation better? 

God can restore the situation, but you have to act. Ask the Lord to forgive you and to help the person forgive you as you go to them. Being sorry is good; it shows your heart is moldable. Instead of beating yourself up for days or weeks or years, take that time and energy and use it to improve yourself and this situation. Taking action on what the Lord is leading you to do shows your faith and will bring you blessings. I need you to help me the same way I am helping you because I sin too. Now give me a hug because I love you so, so, so much!" 

I may say some or all of that. While it isn't perfect, it is much better than ripping them apart and stealing all hope from them. Correction and encouragement are my goals, not condemnation. 

If it fits, I will share a time I sinned in the same way, how it affected me, and how I overcame it, or what I do when I struggle with it. Doing this has made my relationship with my children so very close. They respect and trust me for being REAL. I don't want my children or anyone else thinking I am perfect. I want them to see me as I really am... a heavily flawed, but genuinely in love with the Lord woman, who is trying to honor Him and know Him as best she can, and is trusting Him to work a lasting beauty through her many imperfections!

I am very thankful to the Lord for answering my desperate pleas to show me a better way of parenting. He answered when He sent the right people who came into my life right before my first child was born. Being constantly torn down as a child leaves internal scars and insecurities that can last a lifetime, but it can also be a very powerful motivator to seek the Lord to give your child better. 

May the Lord richly bless you in your parenting!