Realize that much of what we teach to our children and teens is unsaid. Our example is so very important and speaks more loudly than anything we say.
Some examples of this are as follows: The child grows up seeing the mother or father having unfair things done to them, then watch them get rid of their frustration by throwing something, by being mean or unkind to someone undeserving near them. They hear the parent cuss or slam the door to show how upset they are. They hear the parent speak cutting remarks about the individual that was unfair to them.
Then the child disobeys, and the parent rails pitiless hail upon them, calling them names and using demeaning words like, "You stupid kid, how many times have I told you to ...! Will you ever learn! I've had it with you." They see the parent's forceful countenance, anger and while young respond to such dominance with fearful outward submission. What are we teaching our children by our example lacking self-control?
But the parent tells the child how they should be like Jesus. Instructing them to be kind, not angry, to be forgiving and caring of others like Christ, while the parent demonstrates the opposite character to them. Friends, do realize when your flesh, and not God, is in control, you need to choose to change Masters! Obeying the flesh is not good for you or a proper example to them. Which does the child learn, the spoken word or our demonstration?
As the child grows, you see them "imitate the parent" when they are frustrated by throwing a toy, by hitting their sibling in anger, by dominating or forcing others to do their will, by being cold and curt, saying very mean and demeaning things to their sibling, friends, or even their parents.
"Where did that come from?" you ask. You are frustrated and irate with their behavior, wanting to punish them even more firmly! They know that is wrong! Let me ask you, Do you live up to what you know? Do you know you should not ever correct in harshness and anger? Do you see, that is what, you the parent, implanted and taught them by your example! Have you done it? Lets spend some time to quietly think about what we should be?
Teaching respect is best done by 'Our Example' to them. It's the 'By Beholding'
By beholding we become changed. What monkey's see, monkey's do. If you want your children to be respectful to you, then you must show them how to be respectful, like Christ even when your children are selfish or unkind to you or others. By you being respectful to them ... being patient, kind, instructive, and disciplining them in self-control, without harshness and anger under God's direction and Spirit ... even when they provoke or irritate you! In this way you are teaching them lessons of self-control and self-denial as it is in Jesus as you want them, to do and be!
We must not only demonstrate being in Christ ourselves by "our response", but we must also
In Christ ...
train "their will" to surrender to Jesus' will. Psalms 55:19 We must train them to do what they KNOW is right ... to change! We error by expecting them to be good, to do right in the power of the flesh unaided by God. It is impossible for the flesh to subdue the flesh. Our children and teens need the indwelling Christ on board in their hearts to be empowered to live above the pull of their fleshly nature that comes so naturally to us all, but especially under provocation. There is no excuse to be unkind. Our parental duty from God is to train up a child in the way he should go ... Proverbs 22:6
Training deals with the exercise of their free will choice to do God's will not their flesh's will. This will empower respect! They must be
taught how to choose. Romans 12:21 says to
Exercise them to
cultivate the opposite trait to what is natural. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Every thought needs to be brought into obedience to Christ's way and will. Self-denial and self-control is best done In Christ. Thus ... Respect to God engenders respect to their family.
Do you know how to surrender to Jesus and let Him have you when your flesh compels you to be angry or whatever? Do you know how to be empowered by Christ being this power outside of yourself? You cannot give what you do not know by experience. Can you teach knitting never having knit? How then do we teach them self-control and self-denial? By demonstration!!
We, the parent, must find that power over our flesh first; by our connection and cooperation
with Christ, through Him, and In Him! Our full commitment and effort is what opens the door to our hearts to let Him it. Cooperation says, come on in Lord, I want to be Yours. Save Me from serving self! I want to serve you and be like You instead of being under Self's rule.
We must learn how to come to Christ, to submit ourselves to Him, to filter our thoughts and habits through Him before we act on them. This is true Union and Communion with God! We must seek God's will, t
hen choose to do His will while resisting our fleshly will. This will be
done In Jesus' power, not ours, for only Jesus can subdue our flesh and change our hearts. Ezekiel 36:23-28 God cannot do this without our cooperation though. In a yoking up with Christ, both pull and work together. God does the larger work but it feels like we are doing all the effort in that yoke. Yes, this is the way we accept this new heart Jesus wants to give us.
Jesus can change anger to peace inside of us! This is only possible as we submit to do Christ's will and not our own. Our effort demonstrates who we are choosing to be our Master. Only in our action of obedience is Christ given permission to remove our feelings of
or anger from us. In this way Christ implants His heart to be ours. This transformation is the miracle we experience through surrender and letting go of our anger in order to do God's will to love and nurture instead. Psalms 37:8
This is what God wants us to demonstrate to our children and teens. By beholding, they too, will become changed. Unfairness, trials, "my will" being crossed, need not set us on a rampage of anger or drive us
in the opposite direction to despair. Isn't this freedom what we want to
lead our children to experience? That their feelings and emotions need not Rule them if they choose to be In Christ. Abiding in Christ we sin not. There is no excuse for sin to reign in us.
Let the dysfunction of our fleshly anger stop right here with us. We don't want to pass this on to the next generation! In Christ we can do all things. Without Him we can do nothing of ourselves. Then we will be teaching respect in a most powerful way.
Christ wants to save us from the
we do to our children when we let the flesh rule over us. Jesus came to save His people 'from' their sins, not 'in' them. Matthew 1:21 This death to self will cost us something!! We cannot be the one in charge ... God must be in charge. He calls the shots, not us. Our anger, despair, or whatever are not to rule us or our children. Jesus is knocking at the doors of our hearts asking for permission to come in and dwell with us. Our heart represents our feelings, emotions, habits, inclinations, passions, and much more. It is up to each of us
to open the door to
our heart so that Jesus has free entrance to come in, to subdue the wrong, to cleanse out our selfishness, and implant His character instead.
We can KNOW we 'should do' this or 'shouldn't
' that, but without Christ, the selfish nature is not subdued ... instead the Selfish nature R
ules us. Christ said,
"He will subdue all things unto Himself."
Philippians 3:21 ... So lets be the branch that connects to the Vine for His healing virtue to heal us and our child from our carnal self. We must Connect with Jesus!
Acts 9:6 must become our cry: "Lord what would thou have me to do?" This deals with the here and now. God promises to reveal His will to us. Ask yourself, "What would Jesus do if He were me in this situation?" Then do it. John 2:5 says, "Whatsoever He sayeth unto you, do it." Life will change-guaranteed. You can do all things through Christ. He paid the price to redeem us from all self-serving ... IF we yoke up with Him and Do His will.
As God changes you, now you can know, how to instruct your child to surrender his heart of anger, revenge, frustration, despair, 'I can't' or whatever. Instructing them that through their surrender to Jesus they too will be empowered to be like Christ; kind, caring, forgiving, and sensitive to the Holy Spirit's whispering to their heart. This is how you empower your children and teens to be respectful to you! Respect begets respect.
Another important aspect to consider. Parents you must not only teach your child's 'mind' what is right (knowledge and information) but also train their 'will' to do what they know is right. A parent under God sees to it their child of a free will choice does what he knows is right In Jesus. This is love. This sets the captives free!! With God we are creating new, good habits to replace the old, bad, fleshly habits. Parenting is not just teaching right information but most importantly training them with their will how to relate to and surrender to God which, empowers them to change and be able to do what is right.
This must be an actual experience, not merely an intellectual assent. Experiencing God changing their
their despair, their 'I can't' thinking will make a deep impression on their heart, helping to draw them to Christ personally. They will respect you in return and have power to obey and be like Christ. Isn't that what you really want for them?
Teach your children how vital God is in their daily life in order to live aright and not be slaves to their fleshly habits, emotions, inclinations, or passions. Be their role model to emulate. Next month I'll go into 'Teaching Respect to our Teens.' Do join us then.
Training Our Children Respect,
Sally & Jim