For some reason I keep thinking parenting is supposed to be easy. I have read in scripture children described as blessings and gifts from God, so want to believe teaching and training them should always be joyfully easy. Unfortunately I have yet to find any supporting scripture.
Recently, when redirecting one of the littles, I was presented with a teaching opportunity. Columbo was whining and tattling of what he believed to be a sibling injustice, I informed him that he should worry about himself, his brother could worry about himself, and I would be in charge of them all.
At some time, each of my five children have heard my chant of who they are, and are not, to concern themselves with. I have always thought that was a reasonable expectation for a child, but this time was different. A still small voice asked me a question. “Are you your brother’s keeper?” I went and read Genesis 4:9, which contains those words, and realized I was communicating to my children that it was okay to have a callous indifference toward others and their behaviors.
As I prayed about how to direct my children, the Lord seemed to lay out our weeks devotion time. He began with 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” As the littles and I discussed this scripture, I challenged them to consider not only their behaviors but also to be aware of the behavior of others.
Our study has taken us through many scriptures addressing relationships.
We have defined love with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
We read how we are to be encouragers as it states in Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
The topic of bad behavior held some of the most interesting discussions. The littles really liked the idea of rebuking as we read in Luke 17:3 “So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
We enjoyed lengthy discussions and laughed over extreme examples of sin and how to rebuke another….IN LOVE! To help remember when a dispute needed to be taken to mom or dad, we came up with our own definitions of tattling and telling.
Tattling – Telling on someone with the intent of getting them into trouble.
Telling – Telling with the intent to protect another or to seek help when a problem is not being resolved.
As we are coming toward the conclusion of our study I have come to realize that although I have always encouraged my children to talk to each other and work things out, too often I have stepped in before I should and played the part of referee.
A child’s age does not excuse their sin. As young believers in Jesus children have the ability to set a Godly example. As a parent, I have the responsibility to teach and train my children that they might grow and mature in faith and love.
I expect many more teaching opportunities in my future. Although I haven’t found a scripture that promises parenting will be easy, I have found admonition to expect challenges. Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” In addition to teaching and training, I must also pray. I pray that my children will not only be siblings, but also friends.
What do you think? Are you your brother’s keeper?