Who Is a Good Parent?
It’s a loaded question, isn’t it? It seems to me that often the people who think they are great parents aren’t, and the parents who are doing a great job (even if imperfect) tend to feel their weakness the most acutely.
As evangelicals in the western world in the 21st century, it seems that there is more pressure than ever to do well at this parenting thing. We have Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram telling us everyday how great everyone else is doing at this parenting thing; the proof is in the nicely edited photos, right? The family lives of so many others around us seem to be smiling faces, happy hearts, and many memorable moments of family fun.
And that’s just the world. Nevermind in the church. Other Christians are doing a great job at family devotions, praying for world missions, and teaching their children to memorize the whole Bible (or so it seems). And doesn’t that make sense? I mean, if the non-Christians in the world are doing well at this family thing, should we be doing better? Isn’t family a Christian thing?
Sadly, many Christian parents end up feeling guilty, over-burdened, and stressed trying to keep up with all the family things that we feel we need to do to be good parents.
A Word that Encouraged
A couple weeks ago a brother shared with me his testimony of how he came to Christ. It was through his parents; but in a very weird way.
As a child, his parents had been religious in some sense, but never devout. They always kept a Bible around (though it was never read at home). It was probably, in effect, much more like a good luck charm or an omen, or a piece of family heritage and cultural identity than anything.
Eventually he moved out and began his life with his wife. But through circumstances in this man’s life, he began to question the world he lived in. He turned to the Bible, which had ‘always just been around.’ He began reading.
Well, you know what happened then, right? The Lord saved him, of course. And his wife, too. And then, through God’s amazing providence, as this man was praying for someone to come and lead him to a healthy church where they could grow, an old acquaintance just happened to ‘appear’ in his path one day. That old acquaintance had also been saved, and was now attending our church.
They are now baptized members of our church, and we praise God for it.
The One Thing
The one thing that stuck out to me from this was the role his parents played. They didn’t home school. They didn’t have him memorize Scripture. They didn’t teach him the Bible. They probably aren’t even believers themselves.
But they did one thing right: the made the Bible available. And what else does God need to work?
An Example That Isn’t
So, am I saying that we don’t need to think about doing memory verses? We should dispense with Bible reading and church attendance? That family worship and prayer for missions aren’t important?
What I am saying is this: Parent, if you’re getting the Bible into your kids’ world, you’re doing well. That’s all God needs to work.
The salvation of your children does not hang in the balance with your family routine or your Instagram-worthy-moments. If they see some shortcomings in you, they are not thereby damned to unbelief.
God doesn’t need you to be a perfect parent to save your children. But a truly ‘good parent’ will be diligent to make sure, at the very least, the Bible is present in the home.
Yes, there is more that we can do. Much more, in fact. And there are great resources to help us, as well.
But if we start there, we’re doing well.