This past Sunday, after the morning Worship Gathering, I was standing in our lobby talking with a couple I knew from my years in Cedar Rapids. They had come to the area for the annual Cedar Falls Bible Conference, and chose to drive the 25 minutes north to worship with Riverwood.
As we were catching up, we were interrupted by three different elementary aged kids who simply wanted to tell me or show me something. After the third kid ran off, the wife of the couple said, “Wow, there sure are a lot of kids here!”
She was right - and I love it! I love how full our Kids Creek classes are, and, as a church family, we are regularly getting to celebrate the birth of a little one (like Violet a couple of weeks ago). The Scriptures make it clear: kids are a gift from the Lord! So hearing their voices and seeing them play brings joy to my heart.
But sometimes, kids create very different emotions in us. We can get frustrated and even angry with them at times - especially when you are the parent! It almost goes without saying: Raising kids can be difficult.
Recently, I have found myself thinking about kids a lot. Maybe it is because the new school year is just around the corner. Maybe it's because I’m about to send off my third child to college in a couple of weeks. Or maybe it is because Bridget, the Elders, and I have been having conversations about Kids Creek due to the large class size and what we need to do to disciple our middle school and high school students.
Whatever the reason, it has made me realize it's been a while since we’ve talked about parenting these precious kids. So as we prepare for the end of summer and start of fall, I want to bring back some blog posts we did in 2018 and refresh them to remind us how to engage in Jesus-centered Parenting.
But before I jump in, let me give a couple of caveats:
Some of you have no children. Some are empty-nesters. Some are just beginning your parenting years. And some of you are wondering if the parenting years will ever end! I hope no matter where you are at in life, you can still find something encouraging and helpful through this series.
Over the next few weeks, I will not be trying to force you to adopt a particular "style," but rather to think through how to let the Holy Spirit guide you and make the gospel the motivation for how you lead your children.
With those caveats said, let's begin our series on Jesus-centered parenting.
I am in awe of Romans 2:4, which informs us it isn't God's anger that leads us to repentance, or a raised voice through His prophets, or even a stern look from Heaven. It is God's kindness that leads us to repentance.
So if it is God's kindness and grace that leads a person to surrender to Jesus, then why not give your children the same? Your children will do a LOT of wrong things. (After all, they take after you! 😉) The temptation for many parents is to respond to these mistakes with a stern look, a raised voice, or even deep anger.
But oftentimes, the poor choices your children make are simply out of childishness and immaturity. We as parents need to teach our children how to make mature choices with the same kindness and grace that Christ has bestowed upon us.
Now, don't misunderstand me. Showering your kids with kindness doesn't mean overlooking their wrongdoing. After all, Jesus was full of grace AND truth. So speak truth to them, but do it with love. Let them experience kindness.
And when your kids experience kindness through you, they have a better glimpse of a loving Heavenly Father, who can forgive them of their sin and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.
So just as God has shown you tremendous kindness through Jesus, may you show kindness to the kids with whom God has blessed you.
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