Does this type of situation sound at all familiar? (Parent to child): “Now look at what you’ve done! Because you didn’t do what I told you to do, and were goofing off instead, we’re going to be late for church! I’m teaching Sunday school today. Now I’ll have to walk in late. Do you know how that makes me feel?”
As a parent, I’ve been there and done that more times than I can count. I’ve put myself—my feelings, my convenience, my reputation before others—at the center of my child’s disobedience. So when I came across these words from John Younts, I was very convicted and very helped:
Parents, when you give in to anger, resentment or self-pity at your child’s bad behavior, you make yourself the center of the problem. You are loving yourself first and most. You must love your kids enough to show them the danger of their behavior. They need to see that their first problem is with God, and secondarily with you…You must be more concerned for them than for yourself, and you must be concerned most of all for God. By modeling patience, love, self-control—all the fruits of the Spirit—you teach your children how extraordinary God is.
(Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally about God with Your Children, copyright ©2004, page 64)