One of the greatest mistakes in parenting, or at least one of the easiest mistakes to fall into, is to begin to think that the parent is the one in ultimate control. While there are often times raising children in which parents feel powerless, the overall sense is that the parent ought to have control. Often times, when parents sense that they have lost control over a given situation, they will micromanage other areas of life simply to maintain that sense of having control over something. This struggle for power between parent and child can escalate to the point where there appears to be no solution.
2 Cor. 4:1 teaches that believing parents have the ministry of reflecting Christ toward their children. It also describes how parents do not give up in this ministry because they are reflecting Christ who did not give up in his ministry of reflecting the Father to them. 2 Cor. 4:2 goes on to describe what that ministry of reflecting Christ looks like each day. Verse two contains only one main verb, "renounce." The words "walking" "corrupting" and "commending" are all just participles that describe how to "renounce" the "shameful secret things."
Last week we learned from 2 Cor. 3:12-18 that godly parenting is reflecting Christ, but also being transparently transformed by Christ. In 2 Cor. 4:1, Paul gives both the duration of and reason why we must reflect Christ and being transformed by Him as parents.
What is the primary mode of communicating the real Christian walk to our children? According to 2 Cor. 3:12-18, it involves reflection, transformation, and boldness. In what precedes this passage, Paul contrasts the old covenant of the Law, which brings condemnation, with the new covenant of grace, which brings righteousness.
In 2 Corinthians 2:4, Paul tells the Corinthians why he did not come to visit them in person. He knew that if he went in person, he would have to be quite firm and it would be "painful" for them and for Paul. He asks them in verse 2 "who will cheer me up" when I come if not you who will be hurting from my rebuke? Paul knew how hurt he was, and he knew the Corinthians would be hurt as well, so in this context, he chose to confront the situation more indirectly. Seeing no need to set up the potential for an emotional fireball, Paul decided to write them. As he did this, Paul describes having an "extremely troubled and anguished heart." Have you ever been there as a parent, afraid that if you say a word face to face, there will be an emotional explosion by you, your child, or both? Yet you grieve the choices that your child is making. In this situation, Paul took the indirect approach to say what needed to be said.
Last week we looked at 2 Cor. 1:3 and discovered that in order to be godly parents, one of our strengths must be a consistent and gentle sympathy that we show when our children hurt. This week, we look to 2 Cor. 6:3 and discover: a goal of parenting, the consequence of bad parenting, and the proper motive of good parenting.