If you missed this past Sunday at SoHills, click here to catch up. And I urge you to listen if you missed it, especially Shannon’s talk on parenting. He should write a book!
When it comes to parenting children, what needs attention first, the heart or their behavior? I believe we would always lean toward the heart of a child being the most important, but their behavior seems to attract the most attention, especially when it comes to a parent’s reaction. We want to respond to behavior immediately before we really even consider what is going on in our child’s heart.
Let’s be honest, it is much easier to react to behavior than to go after the heart. Attacking the behavior is an immediate fix. By all appearances, the situation has been resolved, control has been maintained, consequences have been distributed, and we believe “it’s handled.” But we often times miss something that is much deeper.
Now, we can’t ignore the behavior. Sinful behavior requires consequences, but when the consequences are a means to an end, we have missed it. Behavior is merely a symptom of what has already been going on in the heart for some time.
This past Sunday, Shannon listed four goals of moving toward a Christ-centered home:
- Rooted in the Truth, the Word of God
- Pursuit of Christ, chasing after Jesus
- Gospel-driven, who Christ is and who we are in Him
- Heart-centered, the focus is on the heart and not behavior
When we ignore the heart, we elevate our desire to stay comfortable above the real needs of our children. Because allowing God to lead us into the heart of our kids is messy and requires time and work and patience. It may even be that God gives us the eyes to see how our own sin has impacted our kids. It is then through the grace of God and His mercy that we can work through it alongside our children.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. This is a work of the Lord’s compassion on us, and not only can it bring about healing in the lives of our kids, but it can do much more in us.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – Hebrews 4:12
John 16 tells us that the Holy Spirit is a guide into all truth. We must allow the Word to work its way into the hearts of our kids and we must ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into places of truth, to give eyes to see and ears to hear beyond behavior.