Sound doctrine must be clearly evident in our homes. This sound doctrine turns the hearts of the parents toward the children and the children’s hearts to the parents. (Malachi 4:6) This is in stark contrast to all the insensitivity and loneliness children so often experience, even while having their every material need met – things such as clothing and food.
If children sense that their parents sympathize with them and are interested in their circumstances, they won’t feel alone with their burdens. Without invading their privacy or forcing themselves on them, parents must keep such close contact with their children, that they quickly recognize if something is wrong. Such openness enables the children to talk about what is troubling them. This sort of trust-relationship is extremely valuable.
Leave work at work
It’s important that by faith you lay aside the stress and burdens of the work place when you come home and participate in household tasks. Give your family your full attention when you are there. If you don’t get victory over anxiety, it can easily create a domino effect that will cause a lot of suffering, especially for the children. Maybe you have difficulty enduring in suffering when you are humiliated or when you are in other adverse circumstances. This needs to go into the death of Christ, so that when you come home, you come to bless your household.
Know your sheep
Young people must be watched over in a good way so they don’t end up in situations that will damage them for life. We must stay ahead of the devil and know our sheep well. “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.” Proverbs 27:23. It is good for children to have boundaries. If these boundaries are spacious enough to allow them a sound development, the children will recognize that boundaries are an expression of love and care.
The boundaries should be as wide as possible, but once they do exist, transgressions must be dealt with. A good, blessed atmosphere must exist within the boundaries. Mother and father must be watchful here. Some children need more limitations than others, even within the same family. The driving force behind everything must be love for the child, and not the ambition of the parents.
Have a genuine relationship with God
God has equipped us with various talents and gifts. No one is worth more than another in His eyes. Within the scope of our personal abilities, we have the opportunity to attain to all the fullness of God. Striving to compete with others is stupid and vain. True happiness is found in the genuine relationship we have with God. Through that relationship, we will be able to give our children something from heaven. Whether you live in a big house or a small house means nothing. But for parents to have a good relationship in which their children sense security, care and unconditional love means very much.
Be flexible in your relationship with them
When our children become teenagers, it is important for us as parents to step back a little from being their educators and rather be guides and good conversation partners for them. The children need to become more independent in a natural way. It is also a good idea to celebrate special events in their lives or any victories they might have, and to support them in their defeats, without meddling. If you follow along closely, you can step in at the right time, just like the eagle that pushes her young out of the nest, but is ready to catch them if they should falter.
Be thankful for them as individuals
Some children are very open and spontaneous and are good at communicating. Others are more self-conscious and withdrawn. Some are easy to be with; others are difficult and stubborn. Sickness and other disorders can also be a factor. All children should feel that their mother and father watch over them and are thankful for them just as they are – without feeling like their parents are seeking honor or are embarrassed by them.
Parents must show goodness to each one of their children, and they should pray for them and be patient during periods when they may be a little distant. Parents need to strive to keep a good relationship with all their children, regardless of their personal choices. You must also show care and support to those who choose a different course in life. “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14.
Be rich in love
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9-10. Knowledge often abounds, but perhaps we need to pray more for this knowledge to be far richer in love!
There is a lot of coldness and insensitivity in the flesh, even in places where you might not have thought it possible. Most people wouldn’t think there are snow-capped mountains in Africa, but there are. A lot of insensitivity can be hidden within us too. We all need a living connection with the Spirit of truth to be able to acknowledge the truth. Then He will be able to speak to us and show us what we cannot see, even if we have “the right understanding.” There is probably no other place where that sigh of the first fruits – “Oh, wretched man that I am!”– comes forth so often as in the home. (Romans 8:24)
Within your four walls you have a “church that is in your house,” (Romans 16:5) – a place where you can practice these things and work in such a way that your children really sense that their childhood kingdom is a kingdom of heaven. Then God, who sees the hidden things, will reward you openly.
This article has been translated from Norwegian, and is an abridged version of the chapter “The Healing Doctrine” in the book “Shepherd and Prophet,” published by “Skjulte Skatters Forlag” in 2004.
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