Being a parent is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It has revealed my pride, exposed my selfishness, and uncovered my laziness. And yet, it’s simultaneously one of the best things I’ve ever done. Amid dealing with the sin it displays in my heart, it brings an immense amount of joy in my life.
To top it all off, the best thing about parenthood—apart from the actual experience—is what it points to: God’s love for His children. Just as marriage is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with His church, so parenthood is a reflection of the Father’s relationship with His children.
Why is this so important? Because, among other things, it has practical implications for how we parent.
I can admit my failures. One of the best things you can do for your children is owning your sins in front of them. This shows them it is okay—even right—to be transparent about our mistakes. Sometimes the best thing to do is say, “I’m sorry.” A big mistake we make as parents is not apologizing for our sins—whether we sin against our children or our spouse (in front of them).
With the gospel at the forefront of our minds, we are freed to admit our mistakes, sins, and failures. And it creates a tremendous opportunity to share the gospel with our children.
I can get a greater sense of what God’s love is. The love I have for my children is an out-of-this-world love; a love I didn’t know I could have. With how much I love my children—how much more does God love His children?
I try to tell my oldest (my youngest isn’t old enough to understand yet) that Daddy loves her so much, but God loves her an infinite amount. Daddy makes mistakes, God doesn’t. Do we think about this, believer? Whether you’re a parent or not, take time while reading this to reflect on God’s love for you. It’s a personal, affectionate, saving love. It’s a sacrificial, atoning, divine love. It’s a love that we cannot measure, a love that has no end in sight. We are beneficiaries of that love.
I can point my children to God’s love in Christ. Like I said above, I’ve tried to instill in my child’s little heart of God’s immeasurable love for her. And I want my parenting — my love her them — to be a shining beam that lights up the gospel. I want what all Christian parents want: for their children to come to Christ!
I’d love for my little girls to play golf competitively and become really good at it. I’d love it if they were extremely smart and got a full-ride to college one day. I would be floored if either of them meet a Christian man who loves them like Christ loves the church.
But above all else, I want and pray for them to know Christ. That’s what I want more than anything else—to see them believe in the gospel with all their heart, to give their lives to Christ, and follow Him.
And, by God’s grace, our parenting will prayerfully be a means to that goal.
Enjoy my writing? You might like my book Gospel Smugness: Displaying Christlike Character in Evangelism.