Romans 15:7 (NKJV) Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
There are four concepts we deal with as parents in communicating with our children: authority, accountability, affirmation and acceptance. We usually line them up this way:
We exert our parental authority over them. We demand that they be accountable to us. When they respond to our authority and comply by being accountable, we affirm them. When they put together a positive track record of affirmative behaviors, we convey our love and acceptance. Today’s message really hits home if you are a parent, leader, pastor, mentor, mentee, prodigy!
The reason we have such difficulty communicating with our children is that we have it all backward. Look at God’s approach to us as His children. At which end of the list does our heavenly Father start? He starts by expressing His love and acceptance (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Our children won’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. Paul instructs us to “accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).
When your child shares something personal with you, what is he/she looking for initially? Not a lecture, not a list of rules he must obey, but acceptance and affirmation. “Tell me I’m all right,” he/she begs. “Give me some love and hope.” Please hear my heart today no matter how old your child may be today! We can start all over now.
When you know that you are unconditionally loved and accepted by God and affirmed in your identity as His child, you voluntarily submit to the Lord’s authority and hold yourself accountable to the Lord. Similarly, when your child knows that you love him and accept him/her regardless of their failures, he/she will feel safe sharing their problems with you and responding to the direction you give. Children who know they are loved are free to be themselves, free to grow, and free to be the people God wants them to be. I pray you much success as you consider these spiritual imperatives in connection with your children! Whether your children are biological or spiritual, that which is shared is worth your consideration.
Prayer: Lord, I know I can’t be a perfect parent, but help me trust You day by day to be the affirming, accepting parent You want me to be. Lord I need you to help me be the parent, grandparent, you want me to be, In Jesus name, Amen!
For His Glory,
Pastor James Baker, Jr.