September 14, 2007

A Biblical Model for Parenting

Genesis 3

God provided an amazing home for Adam and Eve.  He became their true Father.  He certainly knew the possibility for sin - after all, he had planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden Himself.  He warned them of the consequences of sin in terms they could understand.  They certainly knew beyond a doubt that they had better not sin.

But then the Serpent finds his way into the garden.  He tricks Eve, she eats, and she shares the food with Adam.  Right away they know they have done wrong.  God doesn't overlook their sin, but He doesn't come running immediately either.  He certainly knew about their sin right away - He saw it happen, even though Adam and Eve may not have realized it.  He waits.  Maybe He is allowing them to come to the realization of what they have done and take steps to make it right.  Maybe He is so greatly grieved at their sin that He is not ready to confront them immediately about it.  Or maybe He is simply maintaining His routine in spite of the catastrophe which has taken place, waiting for the time when He is expected for their evening walk together, dealing with the situation then.

"Hey, Adam!  Where are you?"  How many times have my children sinned and then run away to hide?  We all got that from Adam and Eve.  But God calls to them, and Adam must know that He can't hide from God, for he answers readily.  He doesn't admit his sin, but makes an excuse.  Even when God asks him directly, he passes the blame to Eve, who then passes it on to the serpent.  Each one of them is guilty.  God is not fooled.  Each one must be punished.

How it must break God's heart to curse His most precious creations.  Interestingly, they do not all receive the same punishment.  But all 3 receive an appropriate punishment - one suited both to who they are and their part in the sin. 

Does God still love Adam and Eve?  Absolutely!  He continues to provide for their needs and reaffirm His love for them.  He makes clothing for them to cover the nakedness they feel.  He knows their makeshift fig leaf clothing won't last, especially outside the beautiful Garden, from which He will have to banish them.

God takes steps to avoid a repeated offense and make certain the necessary consequences are carried out.  There must be no way out of it for the guilty parties.  As much as it must have grieved God, He sends Adam and Eve away from the only home they have ever known. 

The way God dealt with the very first sin can be a model for disciplining my own children:

  1. Call my children at the appropriate time.
  2. Lead them to confess their sin.
  3. Mete out appropriate punishment to each party involved.
  4. Reassure them of my love.
  5. Take steps to prevent a repeat offense and ensure the punishment is carried out.

Love undergirds every one of these steps.  And I must follow them regardless of how heartbreaking it feels. 

Lord, help me!  I am so weak in the area of disciplining my children.  I overlook too many of their sins.  Help me to follow Your example and take appropriate steps in learning to discipline my kids.  Give me Your strength, Your wisdom, and Your creativity as I raise these precious children.  Amen.

Posted by jennbeck at September 14, 2007 07:10 AM