You know the moment it happened to you…the day you opened your mouth and your mother came out. The things you promised you wouldn’t say to your children because you didn’t like hearing them as a kid, are the very words that rolled over your lips. You may have been on the playground, at the grocery store, or in the middle of the doctors office, but most of us have had the experience where we have uttered the words we heard as children from our parents. We are the products of our parents. Good or bad. Right or wrong. They have shaped our lives and left a lasting impression.
As a mom of young children, my life is constant discipline. I will admit there are moments that my mother has come out of my mouth. When my youngest son is whining, questioning my reasons for saying no and asking “why”, I have answered in haste, “I am the mom, that’s why”. My answers of “because I said so” did very little to “encourage, comfort, and urge them to live lives worthy of God” (I Thess 2:12) but rather demanded respect and absolute submission.
In her excerpt, Model Parenting, Carla Barnhill explains “that is not the way God parents us. True, our Heavenly Father asks for obedience to his commands – and he punishes those who persist in rebelling against him – but He is also compassionate, slow to anger and faithful to forgive. He doesn’t demand our respect; He wins it by His loving care and mercy. God doesn’t push us into obedience; He invites us to follow Jesus”
In reflecting on parents and children, I have realized that we are really not that different. We fuss. We complain. We lose patience. We get frustrated. We whine. Not once has The Lord stood over me and said, “because I am God, that’s why” or “because I said so”. Instead, He offers me grace and guidance when I make mistakes. He loves me, affirms me – He definitely disciplines me – but offers forgiveness and complete acceptance.
Every day He shows me how to be more like Him. Each day I am learning to parent more like Him. I pray every day, that when I open my mouth…my Heavenly Father comes out.
“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so The Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” Psalm 103:13