Continuing from part two in the series, the second general principle of discipling our children is:
2. Discipleship happens within a relationship.
Have you ever wondered why “sinners” such as tax collectors and prostitutes love Jesus? Do you think it’s because he preaches to them about God? I am pretty sure that they can stand being being in the same room with a perfect man who is such a contrast to them is that Jesus exudes genuine care for them – unconditionally. He knows, everyone knows, what they are on the outside. But he loves them for who they are because he – himself is God – made them. Imagine what Jesus sees when he looks at his creation, the compassion he must have for them. And it is within this love that Jesus is able to disciple the worst of sinners.
As it is commonly said, “People don’t know care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Parents often don’t communicate how much they care, and they just want to “mold” that child to be the image of perfection. When our children do not meet our standards, or perhaps sometimes it may even merely be childhood immaturity that does not meet our adult expectations, we inadvertently communicate a lack of genuine love. Children, even the young ones, are very smart. They know what you are thinking. They can tell when you do not truly love them unconditionally.
Children will often times test your love, purposely disobeying you on a very obvious matter, and see what you will do. This is especially common when there are siblings, and one child thinks you are showing favoritism. “I’m going to take my sister’s favorite teddy bear and see what mom will do. I bet she’s going to punish me, then I’ll know for sure that she hates me and loves my sister more.” Kids want to know that despite their outward behavior, that you still genuinely love them. However, us parents are not so smart. We fail that test when we reprimand their outward behavior without communicating our love.
Discipleship breaks down when the relationship breaks down.
Discipleship series continues next post.