In this sermon, Pastor Neil continues his series on “Whatever You Do.” Here he continues with biblically based guidance on parenting. Here are some excerpts:
Jesus said (and says) to His disciples: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Mark 10:14). Likewise, Paul tells parents in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 6 not to hinder our children from growing either to healthy adulthood or to full maturity as followers of Jesus.
How can you hinder your children from coming to Jesus? You can do it, Paul says, by making them bitter (Colossians 3:21, NIV). You can do it by coming down too hard on them (MSG). If you are so unreasonable in your expectations of your children, if you raise the bar so high that your kids can never reach it in terms of earning your approval, if your love for them is dependent on their performance, you will, as it says in The Message, crush their spirits. You will discourage your kids to the point that they may just want to give up trying to please you.
Or they may give up on ever having a personal relationship with God, because they think they have to earn God’s love, too. If your kids don’t receive grace from you, if they don’t experience grace as a way of life at home, if their experience of love at home is based on achievement or behavior, they may give up on ever experiencing God’s love in a personal way. They may well become bitter toward you and bitter toward God. None of us wants that to happen.
In Ephesians 6:4, Paul says: “Don’t exasperate your children” (NIV, MSG). In the ESV, it says: “Don’t provoke your children to anger.” Another translation says: “Don’t goad your children to resentment’ (NEB). What Paul is saying is that if parents are overbearing, instead of inspiring a child to pursue God and/or to work hard (which may be what the parents intend), it can push a child away from God and cause division and heartache at home. Chuck Swindoll identifies a number of things that can “goad” children toward anger, resentment, and bitterness. Among them are:
Pastor Neil has a lot more to say about this topic. Please click on the link below to hear this sermon in its entirety.