The other day when I was praying for God’s grace in raising our children, I was deeply convicted about how often I fail them. I was struck by how many times I have neglected them to do other less important things, or have been quick to anger, or wished I could leave it all for a while, or been unwilling to show patience with them. Going farther, I also saw how often I have failed to submit to Bill in front of them, showed laziness when there was work to be done, been critical of others in front of them, or neglected pointing them toward Christ when I have opportunities. What a horrid abomination!
I was overwhelmed with my sinfulness toward the beautiful miracles God has so graciously blessed us with. I was suddenly hit with the phrase, “Love them to death.” I’m sure this phrase was probably originated as a result of wedding vows or something like that and probably really means love them till death, but I thought about it in a different context that morning. Many times when I wrong my children I think, “At least I love them. So many parents don’t love their children.”
Many times if I neglect them I justify it by believing I’m teaching them to play alone (which is important BTW, just not when looking for a reason to put your own desires first), or I’ll nobly remind myself that there is a such thing as righteous anger, and since they sinned, it was O.K. to lose my temper. Right? Or I’ll think, “If I get a break, I’ll be a better Mommy to them.” What about skipping the discipline this time because I can’t stand to see my child upset? Each time I make lame excuses like this for my behavior, I am loving my children to death. In other words, I am leading them to eternal death instead of eternal life.
The phrase “Love them to life” got written at the top of my to-do list that day to be meditated on, and it has served as a great reminder to me since. In everything I do with my children now I try to tell myself this: “Love them to life. Point them to their sinfulness and need for a Savior, yes, but then point them to the grace shown by the ultimate sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ. Constantly reflect Christ for them so they learn to adore Him through the adoration they feel for me. Then prayerfully, by God’s grace, someday they may want to be like the Christ they saw reflected, call upon His name, and enter joyfully into His kingdom.” Lord Jesus, may this be so!