August 24, 2009
Let's Not Make Any Gods Here, Part 2
--photo from oxford.anglican.org
In the August 19th post, I introduced the idea that parents should be wary of making their children the central focus of their lives. That idea goes strongly against much of what we are taught by church and society.
There are many real reasons why we are at risk for making our children into "little gods." Children are vulnerable, and are sometimes images of our younger selves. We are biologically programmed to respond to their cries when they are infants and mothers are physically programmed to produce milk to nourish their infants.
We invest so much of our time and effort in providing for them. We hope they will assist us as we grow older or if we become frail. Our "earthly remainders" will be left to them unless we direct otherwise. We live with them, love them, laugh and cry with them, play with them, teach them, train them, correct them, and rejoice in their progress through life. Our children may be an answer to prayer, or proof of the power of medical technology. We may have chosen them through adoption or foster parenting. Perhaps we are struggling to raise our children alone, or we have a huge network of family and friends to assist us. Parenting can be our proudest personal achievement.
Still, if we enthrone our children where only God belongs, things will go wrong.
Things always go wrong when out of order.
So, why does Jesus say if we love our children more than we love Him, we are not worthy of Him? (See Matthew 10:37). Jesus knows we will always follow that which we love the most. Should we follow our children, or lead them? How strongly will we seek God's will for our child's life if we are deeply focused on him or her "happy"? Will we say and teach what needs to be said and taught, or say and teach only what gives us the feedback we seek? Can we model loving God "first and foremost" if we don't do it...or at least make the effort? If we view our children as gifts from God, are we loving the gift more than the Giver?
It's a tough concept to grasp and hold.
There are many "gods" competing for our attention and obedience. Do you have one or two running around in your house?