RESCUING A PARENT’S HEART: YOU CAN’T LEAD CHILDREN WHERE YOU REFUSE TO GO
You must be an authentic example to your children. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1690s, John Tillotson wrote, “To give children good instruction and a bad example is but beckoning to them with the head to show them the way to heaven while taking them by the hand and lead them in the way to hell.”
The first place to be an authentic example for your children is in your marriage for it is one of the main instruments that God designed to preach the gospel. Ephesians 5 lays out the elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the roles of the husband and wife. How unattractive the gospel is when a husband will not love his wife like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her and then turns around and demands his children not to be so selfish and self-centered. Or the wife who does not biblically submit to her husband nor respect his position and them demands that her children respect and honor her.
Hypocrisy has a crippling effect upon a family and it is usually pride that is behind the hypocrisy. Such pride leads to a blindness of our faults and sins. We see the sin in our children’s hearts and not the same sin in our own. It leads to being uncorrectable and the impression that you are right because you are the parent. It leads to discouragement and disobedience to the only direct command in the New Testament for parents that is given in two of the Epistles in that fathers are not to provoke or exasperate their children to anger.
Humility to the gospel leads to living out Ephesians 5:1,2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Humility leads to living out the gospel as your failings are exposed to your children. Confession and quick resolution of wrong doings is accomplished. The home turns into a redemptive community where sin is dealt with but with grace. Discipline is happening and can be handled with gentleness.
When a home is guided by gospel-centered humility, it guards and protects the gospel and it will be continued from one generation to another as described by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14,15, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”