Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Then Should We Raise Our Kids - Part 2 A Letter To My Sons

Part one of How Then Should We Raise Our Kids ended with these questions that I have been asking myself:

How then am I going to raise my children? I have been spoon fed this kind of theology and told to get my children ready for their “destinies” . Now what do I prepare them for? How do I encourage the gifts in them and give them a hope for their future without all the hype. How do I tell them that their lives are important but they may not be able to change the entire world in their lifetimes? How do I give them a sight of the true Kingdom of God while keeping their feet firmly planted in the world.

As I have been pondering the question of what to impart to my children in the wake of all the institutional mindsets and charismatic excesses I have loved the challenge of boiling the gospel down to it’s simplest form. Many of you wrote and added to my thinking and I am grateful. If you read my article, please go back and read those who responded. I am truly grateful to be able to hear the wisdom from their hearts.

Below is the nugget of Truth that I want to use to shape the lives of my children while they are in my home. I want it to be the baseline upon which all decisions are made in their upbringing. I put it in the form of a letter because I actually just wrote this to a dear and very special little boy whom I have had the joy of loving along with his parents. He is not yet one. My boys are 8, 11 and 13.

To My Sons,

This is a letter from your mom to you. In it, I want to tell you a very important thing. I want you to know what I think the most important thing in life is and what you really need to know to be a "Man of God." Here it is in its simplest form:

God is love.

It is something that you could understand at three years old and something that you will ponder when you are thirty three and ninety three. Those words are the culmination of my life and I hope will be yours.

If you understand that God is love you will be able to navigate this life with a confidence that very few find. A man who knows God is love and allows this love to permeate his very being will be a man who knows God, who knows himself and who knows all those around him. He will be a man of wisdom. He will be a man of greatness. He will be a man of compassion. He will be a man of strength. He will be a man of vision and a man of integrity. He will be a giant among men.

Boys, my desire for you is that you would gaze on the love of God every day of your life. You will be changed. See, you cannot understand God’s love for you and then turn and hate your brother. You cannot embrace his total acceptance of you and then reject another of His children. You cannot peer into the depth of his great love and then live in any fear.

Love - God’s love - will change you.

Remember the words that are written by a man named Paul in a book in the Bible called First Corinthians. He calls us to love as God loves us and here is what he says that looks like:

Love never gives up because it is patient.
Love cares more for others than for self because it is kind.
Love does not want what it doesn’t have. It does not envy.
Love doesn’t strut because it is not boastful.
Love doesn’t have a swelled head. It is never proud
Love doesn’t force itself on others because it is not rude.
Isn’t always “me first,” Love is not self-seeking
Love doesn’t fly off the handle because it is is not easily angered.
Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. You see it keeps no records of wrong.
Love doesn’t revel when others grovel because it does not delight in evil.
Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth because it rejoices in the truth.
Love puts up with anything, it always protects
And Love trusts God always.
Love always looks for the best, it always hopes
Never looks back but keeps going to the end because it always perseveres.
Love never dies and it never fails.

Boys, if your picture of God ever differs from the picture that those words paint in the above statements, you will know that your picture of God is warped. This will cause you to turn away from the life in Him and thus you will not love God in truth and you will not love others. If your picture of God is as sharp as those words then you will love and be loved like few men ever have.

I leave you with the words that Jesus said to his friends. They were written down by a man named John. Jesus said to them, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

With all my love,


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. Truly a gem. Thank you for it. Your children are so blessed to have you as a parent.

~Amy :)

Fred Shope said...

Very nice. I was just reading in The Divine Conspiracy this morning, and Dallas Willard was saying essentially the same thing.
It is all about love.