Is the Log in Your Eye, Mom?
We’re talking about the Christian home and last time we talked about making sure our theology matches our practice because what we say we believe is really a waste of breath if we don’t value it enough to live it.
God has placed children in your home to be brought up for His glory, and God’s training program is a side-by-side, day-by-day mentorship program where children listen and hear and watch to learn.
If your kids practice what you live (vs. practice what you preached/said) will they be living a life of integrity, and will the church be better (or worse?) for having a duplicate of you?
There is a tension that happens when we say one thing and do another, especially as it impacts our children. It is a sort of deviant teaching that offends and confuses our children.
Imagine with me that instead of declaring ourselves Christians, we told our kids and neighbors we were Amish. We read Amish books, had Amish friends, baked Amish food, wore Amish clothes to an Amish meeting house every Sunday, but when the doors were closed at home and nobody was around, we pulled down the blinds, turned on our electric lights, blared our TV or radio, changed into “English” clothes and surfed the internet on our iPhone. What could be said of our claim of being Amish?
People would rightly say that we are deceitful, and wonder why we chose to pretend when we clearly are not Amish. Wouldn’t it be best to stop living by lies and tell the truth? To continue in duplicity teaches your kids that mom and dad are hypocrites and that lying to people you say you love is acceptable moral behavior.
This is a silly example of course, but this is often a problem in Christian homes.
Christian parents proclaim doctrine with their lips and but their works deny their creed.
Does this mean that we need to be sinless in order to parent effectively? No, but it does mean that we need to be free of hypocrisy, and that known sin be dealt with.
As Christians, we will often sin which means that we will often be repenting of sin. But when we start hiding our sin, making plans to accommodate our sin, we can be sure we are walking a destructive path and proclaiming to our kids by our actions that a deviant, deceitful way rebellious way is the way to make life work.
In other words, we can’t claim to serve the Lord if we are raising a fist to Him (by denial or disobedience) in any area of life. God tells us that we must love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Sin, unchallenged, is the great homewrecker.
Sin unchallenged infects the health of the whole family.
It distorts our minds, sears our conscience, blinds our awareness, corrupts our justice, and breaks the hearts of innocent bystanders. Sin makes you act in hateful ways even to those you claim you love. Sins’ doctrine is the exact opposite of God Word.
GOD SAYS VS SIN SAYS
- Did God say to deny yourself? Sin says to indulge yourself.
- Did God say to follow Him and obey His Word? Sin says to follow your own heart.
- Did God say to look out for the wellbeing and interests of others? Sin says to take care of YOU and look out for your interests.
- Did God say to humble yourself? Sin says to make a great name for yourself, step on others on the way up, and reject humiliation at all cost.
- Did God say to speak the truth in love? Sin tells you to straight up lie to them and protect yourself, or cut them to the core by brutally giving them your whole mind.
Choose you this day whom you will serve. This is a daily choice, mom. A moment by moment surrendering of our mind, heart, body, words, and actions.
All of life for the Christian is a presentation of our whole beings as a living sacrifice that is pure, clean, and acceptable. And this isn’t some extraordinary brand of Christianity. This is normative Christianity. It’s reasonable. (Rom. 12:1)
What’s not normal is to think that nursing, loving, and coddling any sin enough to chase it, cover it, or plan for it is “normal” when a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
It’s not normal to be an angry, bitter, vengeful “Christian.” That’s actually a proud Christian. All sin starts with pride because pride puts our desires over God’s desires. A proud person lives by the mantra “MY will be done” instead of “THY will be done” even when they know better.
Sin’s lies are as old as Eden and lead us to chase disordered “loves.”
When our lusts conceive, they bring forth death: death of relationships, death of reputation, death of purity, death of health and in the end actual physical death.
Instead of loving God’s Word and others, we ignore the uncomfortable parts of the Bible and disregard passages that stand in the way of what we really want.
Sin causes us to build “Christian” homes with the “wrong materials” like anger, selfishness, and deceit and then wonder why the outcome looks nothing like what the Bible describes.
These homes are less Christian and more about the whims and mood of the most outrageously selfish parent at the moment. And of course, self awareness and spiritual acuteness are rare when sin is ruling. Most of us are blind to the effect our sin has on our children.
Martin Lloyd-Jones reminds us that sin renders you clueless to it’s control or presence in your life:
“You will never make yourself feel that you are a sinner, because there is a mechanism in you as a result of sin that will always be defending you against every accusation.”
Even “good parenting” motivated by selfish ambition (vs. glorifying God as the ultimate aim) is harmful to the child. Augustine calls this “Vice clothed as Virtue.”
I have written in the front of my Bible the line from an old hymn: “Each thought and each motive beneath His control” which reminds me that God’s vision is straight to the heart, and He’s not fooled by our veneers.
When mothers ask me for parenting advice because they are at a loss with their teen, I tell them what I do. I identify the splinters in my teens life that might have chipped off of the plank in my own life.
If their teen is struggling, I usually ask them to summarize in one word what the teen is doing wrong.
My teen is rebellious.
My teen is angry.
My teen is indifferent.
My teen is being deceitful.
Now, we are going to be log hunters, looking for culprits, per Matthew 7: 3.
I ask if it’s possible that they are also doing the very same thing in another area of life but don’t quite realize it.
For instance, if the teen will not listen to wise counsel or handle rebuke well, I ask how well they would say they handle rebuke? What would their husband say about how well they handle criticism? Do they react sinfully or become bitter after a rebuke from a loving spouse, friend, or congregant? Are people free to disagree or correct the parent without being punished?
If the teen is actively (or passively) rebellious in the home, has the parent failed to submit to some authority in their life? Has the wife submitted to her husband as to the Lord, or has she gone over his head and manipulated to make life work? Has the husband failed to submit to the authority in his life? Is he a faithful employee? Does he obey the law? Does he submit to his fellow congregants? How do they speak about our national rulers?
If the teen is angry, mouthy, or rude, has the parent been careful with their words? Does the parent speak respectfully to and about other people? How does the parent speak to the child? How does the parent speak about their least favorite person?
If the teen “forgets” to do what is expected, has the parent also chosen shortcuts for life? Does the parent do what is expected of them? Do they take seriously their responsibilities or do they only show up for life when they feel like it?
If the teen is sneaking around and lying or hiding certain parts of their life, the parent has to ask if they have been completely truthful to their friends, spouse, family. Have they excused their embellishments of the truth? Do they mislead? Paint a picture? Tell “white lies?”
It’s easy to see the speck in our child’s eye, but we, as parents, have to ask if we are the log-holder and this child has just got a little bit of the chip of wood in him that we’ve been carrying. Most of the time the answer is YES.
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ while the log is in your own eye?”
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5).
Are we willing to walk as God dictates in the home? If you’ve wronged your child by your own example, make that right as soon as possible. Go to them and humble yourself. If you won’t, why should you expect them to obey God’s Word either?
One thing I’ve learned about parenting is that most times parenting isn’t so much about getting the child “right” but about making us right in the process. Parenting a child is how God parents us and teaches us of our need for Him and others.
Christian Parenting looks like mom trying to obey God, failing and falling so she listens up (to God’s Word), gets up, repents, makes things right with the child she wronged, and tries again. Repeat this as many times as it happens. Though it seems this process of walking-failing-listening-repenting-trying again is uncomfortable, disorganized, frustrating, and inefficient, you ARE slowly moving in the right direction and making progress when you follow God’s rules for life.
God expects us to humble ourselves or God will do it and when God initiates the humiliation, He will work on you for as long as it takes, mom. Why? God truly does resists the proud. So if you find yourself in a place of being humbled, the Bible tells us to actively humble ourselves under God’s good hand, and cooperate with God, and be on the lookout for God’s grace, which is promised to those who embrace humility. His good hand is also holding and keeping you, and the outcome is His choice. He loves our kids more than we ever could.
Next time we will look at some of the common distortions of the Christian home and some of the consequences I’ve noticed over the years.