John Piper really got me thinking with his blog post regarding Matthew 21:28-30 which reads,
"What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go.
John Piper reminds me, “Do not despair of the rebel, and do not assume the heart of the compliant child is with you.” What an excellent point!
There are four children in my household and each one is very different from the others. The first is a huge supporter of “under dogs”. If she feels someone (or a group) is under attack she swoops in to defend them. This child always pleased people when she was younger but is now loud and makes her feelings heard. She stands up for what she believes to be true and fights very passionately for what she deems to be right, just, and fair…truth, justice, and the American way looks to be her policy.
The next child is quiet, just goes with the flow, yet has a “let the chips fall where they may” mentality. When she is disobedient she is passive about it which requires me to pay close attention because she does not broadcast her defiance. This child was exceedingly articulate when she was very young yet talks softly and not very confidently now and seems to have a humble attitude. It is hard for me know how she feels about things because she is so quiet and apparently content just doing what everyone else is doing. It is difficult to see where her heart lies.
The third child is also very quiet yet remarkably stubborn at times. He openly professes his love for God and Jesus and encourages those around him to have faith that leads to grace. Most of the time he is obedient however sometimes he just wants to do what he wants to do (as he puts it) and argues with me or flat out says, “No, I’m not going to do that.” He has a gentle spirit and a heart that loves and in turn hurts deeply. This child will throw a massive temper tantrum and then asks to read his bible when he is sent to his room for a time out following his outburst. He has a repentant heart.
The fourth child is exceptionally loud and very energetic. His volume is always turned up high and he goes full speed ahead from the moment he rises in the morning until the second before he falls asleep. He does not like to be overly affectionate, except to me and sometimes his siblings, and he enjoys playing hard and being rough. He is outstandingly open about his love for God and Jesus and finds it hard to understand when he meets someone who does not have faith that leads to grace. Though he is dreadfully rough-and-tumble he possesses a tender heart and feelings that are easily hurt.
Out of the four children in my household I believe I protect the second child and fourth child the most. They are wired differently than the average child and are sometimes mistreated and/or misunderstood because of this. God has made them unique. I struggle with sin in my own heart and try not be like a "mother bear" protecting her young.
Matthew 18:12: What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
Matthew 21:32: For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
Matthew 27:3: Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,
It is my heartfelt prayer that the children in my home will be of God’s elect, that they will have faith that leads to grace, and that they will receive a new heart of flesh from God and eyes to see and ears to hear. Fervently I ask my King for their salvation and am mindful of their hearts. John Piper reminds me, "...pray like crazy for...them. And keep showing...them the gospel of undeserved, blood-bought grace." I will continue sowing the seeds with the children in my household!
Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— (Romans 9:21-23. ESV.)
Book Recommendations regarding Parenting:
SHEPHERDING A CHILD’S HEART by Tedd Tripp
CHILD TRAINING TIPS by Reb Bradley
© 2009 B.T.P.