Sometimes my wife and I discuss the challenges faced by teachers in the classroom and conclude that certain children are “parentally challenged.” IOW, Mom and/or Dad are not holding up their end of the bargain.
The term “under-parented” has also been used in some circles. Maybe you’ve used it. Maybe you feel like YOU have been under-parented. Or maybe you’ve had to deal with people who were clearly “under-parented.”
But this is not a blog to heap guilt on parents or to point fingers. This is about another kind of parenting. It’s about the parenting of our Heavenly Father.
For those who claim to follow Jesus, we understand that we are “children of God.” (John 1:12) We address God as “Our Father…” (Matthew 6:13) We proclaim we are his “sons and daughters.” Then we venture into the world (real or cyber) and live our lives.
- We carry on business and commerce
- We engage in conversations and debates
- We talk about other people, in real life and online
- We make decisions about our bodies, and the bodies of others
- We make assumptions about the motives and value and intellect of others
- We choose how to behave toward those who are different from us
We do all these things and more, often unaware that the world is watching. They’re watching the children of our Heavenly Father.
And they’re drawing conclusions about what kind of parent God is based on the behavior of his children.
Sometimes their conclusion is that God’s children are under-parented. That they’re “parentally challenged.” Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. It’s not the parent that’s the problem. Our Heavenly Father has been kind, loving, clear, firm, gracious, honest, sacrificial, and more. He has provided encouragement and opportunities and boundaries and consequences.
The question for us, his children, is this: Are we reflecting the nature of our Heavenly Father in our lives? Will his name be “hallowed” thru our decisions? Jesus put it this way:
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:35)
If there’s a parenting problem, it’s that the children are too often unwilling to listen to their Father. May it not be said of us.