I was given the privilege this week of speaking to several hundred Dads on the subject of treasuring your children as a gift from the Lord. As I prepared for the talk, I was struck afresh by the expendable and exploitive treatment of children in our time. Whether it’s the New York Senate decision on abortion, or the Governor of Virginia’s comments on infanticide, or the media’s coverage of the Covington Catholic School incident at the March for Life, we’re being told over and over by the culture that children are disposable.
When we turn attention to the Scripture, we couldn’t see a starker contrast. For instance, Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” The word “reward” and “heritage” speak to the fact that children are priceless heirlooms to be passed down to the next generation. Far more valuable than your grandmother’s china or your grandfather’s pocket watch, children are an inheritance given by God for us to treasure and train in love, truth, and grace and send out into a time we will not see (Prov. 22:6, Eph. 6:4).
When you realize the Bible’s perspective on children, it begins to make sense why Jesus spent so much time with children during his early ministry. In one instance, as the crowds brought their children to Jesus for him to touch and bless, Matthew tells us the disciples rebuked them (Matthew 19:13). Clearly the disciples didn’t think children were a good investment of Jesus’s valuable time. But Jesus stunned them all with his response, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
Even for those of us who believe the Bible’s teaching on children, it’s easy for us to lose sight of it in our daily lives, isn’t it? At different times and for various reasons, we may fall into a pattern of treating our kids like problems to be fixed, or projects to be perfected, or even interruptions to be managed.
I had to learn a hard lesson this week in this regard. As God would have it, I sinned against my children Wednesday night. I got angry and lost my temper over a situation involving one of my children. The whole family witnessed it and was negatively affected by it. Feeling justified in my anger, I didn’t admit my sin right away. I went into silent mode and brooded for a while. Later, I started back in on preparing for my talk—on treasuring your children as a gift from the Lord no less! I re-read Psalm 127:3 again. As I did, I cringed with guilt. Rightfully, my heart condemned me and balked at my hypocrisy, “You can’t speak on this when you’re not doing it yourself!”
I called the family together and confessed my sin and asked for forgiveness. One by one, they forgave me, and I soaked in the relief of being forgiven. I wound up adding a section to my Thursday talk. It was a section on how failing as a father is an excellent opportunity to train your children to trust in the one Father who will never fail them, the Heavenly Father (Rom. 8:15). For in the end, it’s neither my successes nor failures as a father that will make the difference, but their trust in the perfect Father that will make the difference. For failing fathers like me, that’s good news… Good news indeed.