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The Apostle Paul on Parenting

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  • Dr. James Boyd

    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."

    Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but commending ourselves to every person’s conscience in God’s sight by an open display of the truth. 2 Corinthians 4:2 (HCSB)

     

    So, as parents participate in the ministry of reflecting Christ to their children, they will "renounce," reject, or separate themselves from all the shameful secrets they have harbored. They will accomplish this by: 1) not walking or living in a sneaky way in order to hide their sins, 2) not corrupting or distorting the word of God by their actions, and 3) commending or proving themselves by an open display of the truth before all people and before God. So what do these three elements look like on a daily basis?

    First, parents must display God's truth instead of hiding it by admitting and clearly rejecting any personal sin. To push sin under the rug is to distort God's truth because it minimizes sin by implying that, since a rug can adequately cover the sin, Christ's sacrifice was apparently unnecessary.

    Second, parents encounter temptations daily to distort the message of God by the way they live. Parents must stop claiming to love God and yet secretly dread going to meet with His people. Parents must stop claiming His forgiveness and secretly harbor bitterness toward someone God created. Parents must stop saying God is most important and live in a way that prioritizes sports, academics, hobbies, wealth, and play time. Parents must stop claiming God to be all powerful but then be unable to display that power in the way that they are transformed into the image of Christ.

    Third, parents must not live one way in front of all people and God, but live in a different way in front of their children. Parents establish their credibility with their children by consistently and openly obeying the truth regardless of the audience. This integrity makes the parent believable in the eyes of the child. How will you display the truth of God before your children by the way you walk?

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