SOURCE: Rick Warren
One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.
It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.
This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.
How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:
1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).
I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.
2. Never give up on your kids.
We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a, “If you love someone . . . you will always believe in him, and always expect the best of him” (TLB).
From the Phillips translation, that same verse says, “Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.”
We can face just about anything if we know somebody believes in us. Families are supposed to do that. We’re to give that kind of love to our kids.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. It’s unconditional. It’s a forever bond. No stupid mistake on our part, no dumb decision, no period of rebellion, no overwhelming doubt — nothing can separate us from that forever bond with God, our Father.
As parents we are to develop that same kind of love for our kids. No matter what stupid thing our kids do, no matter how many times they walk away, we believe in them.
God wants you to treat your kids the way he treats you.
Parenting is an emotional roller coaster. One minute you’re so proud of them, you can hardly wait to squeeze them. The next minute you’re frustrated with them and fed up with their behavior.
You may be worried about your kids. You may be frustrated with your kids. You may be fearful about the direction one of them is going. You may be discouraged. If the truth were known, you may be disappointed in one or more of your kids.
Maybe the deepest hurt in your life is when you think of your child or your children. You feel like giving up sometimes, but you can’t resign as a parent. You signed on for life.
If you try to parent in your own power, you’re going to fail. It takes God’s love. Human love runs out. There is a limit to how much you can handle. There’s a limit to how much you can take.
There are days and there are nights when you don’t have any more to give, and you know it. You want to say, “Take care of yourself!” Because human love does run out.
What you need to do is get plugged into God. God is love. He’s the source of all love. When you’re plugged into him, he’ll give you power and energy and love that you didn’t know you had.
God will also give you the wisdom you need. So no matter how you feel emotionally about your kids today, Jesus is ready to help.
The key to becoming a great parent is to become a godly person. How?
First, you invite Jesus Christ into your life. “Lord, become the manager of my heart.”
Second, you pray and say, “God, I need your help daily. I need the wisdom and the love and the patience to be a wise parent.”
Third, you ask your kids to pray for you. I pray for my kids so I ask them to pray for me. Say, “I want you to pray that I’ll be a good parent.”
It may have to start with an apology. There may have to be a little reconciliation first. You may have to contact them, call them on the phone and say, “I wasn’t always the parent I should have been. I feel bad about that. But I want things to change. I want to be the kind of parent God wants me to be and that you need, so I’m going to ask you to forgive me. I apologize.”
It’s never too late to start showing God’s unconditional love and forgiveness to your kids. God never gives up on us. So never given up on your kids!