Good medicine for parents

I was skimming a sample from a new small group study, The Gospel-Centered Parent, when I came across some good reminders about how the gospel–rightly understood and applied–shapes our parenting. [theological terms added]

[Justification] Since we are declared not guilty, gospel-centered parenting means…

  • We let go of the pressure of trying to prove ourselves through good parenting and right kids. We’re free simply to love our children because our worth comes from Jesus, not them.
  • We are humble, openly admitting our sins, deeply aware that we too are big sinners (just like our children) and are righteous only because of Jesus.

[Adoption] Because we are God’s children, gospel-centered parenting means…

  • We aren’t consumed with building our family’s reputation or image, but instead find joy in being part of God’s family.
  • We are dependent and child-like parents, praying often as we trust our own heavenly Father for every family need.

[Sanctification] Because we are growing to be like Jesus, gospel-centered parenting means…

  • We are confident and patient with our children, even when they persist in disobeying. We keep teaching them God’s ways and humbly showing them his love.
  • We use the Spirit’s tools with our children—prayer, the Word of God, and the gospel message—rather than our own wisdom or nagging.

[Resurrection & Reward] Since we have eternal life, gospel-centered parenting means…

  • We don’t live for our children’s success or worldly happiness, and we teach them not to live for it. Our hope is in Jesus.
  • We are not undone by suffering or family disappointments. We know these will not last.
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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

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