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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy

Christian parenting should be different; follow His plan

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Posted: March 22, 2008 3:55 p.m.
Updated: April 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    One of the ideas held by many in our culture is that there are few, if any, absolute truths or principles. When Jesus pronounces that he is “the way, the truth and the life,” and that “No one comes to the Father except through (him)” (John 14:6), the response is often “So, what?” An insistence on taking Scripture’s words as a guidepost for spiritual direction is seen as narrow-minded.
    In a television interview several years ago, actress Jodie Foster talked candidly about her decision to raise her son, Charlie, without the help of a husband/father. With seemingly no thought whatever about the propriety of sex without marriage, her answer to the question about child-rearing was brief: “Everybody is different. There is no perfect way to raise a family. Everybody comes with a different bag of tricks.”
    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a clearer indication of dependence on popular thinking about the family. For years, we’ve been told the family is old-fashioned, and women and men don’t really need one another. Although that thinking may have been revised to some degree in recent years, it is still the stubborn view of many.  
    What should a Christian’s reaction be to this kind of thinking?
    First, the will of God is still that men and women marry and have children within the context of that covenant relationship. Not everyone has to marry, and not everyone who does must have children. But unless circumstances prevent it, God wants children to be reared by a mother and a father.
    Second, it is true that “no one is perfect.” But imperfections in family relations are due to human failure, not to imperfections in God’s plan. Following God’s directions gives us a much greater likelihood of realizing his desires for our prosperity. When we give up on (or never try) God’s way, we ensure failure.
    Third, Miss Foster’s claim that “everybody comes with a different bag of tricks” suggests that each person’s notions about family — no matter how unrealistic — are equally valid. This is typical of most, if not all, “postmodern” thinking. Her language implies that parenting is somewhat akin to a game or adventure, with the only rules being those she chooses to accept or make up. With this view, it matters little, aside from material considerations, what values parents may or may not possess.  
    Christian ... if you are a parent — or expect to be one in the future — remember that you belong to God, and your allegiance is to him as Lord of your life in everything. Don’t embrace the philosophy that the conviction that leads to following God’s will is just too confining and judgmental. Remember that whatever errors in judgment you may have made in your personal life, whatever your failures in self-control, or whatever wrong-headed thinking you may have entertained in the past, God still loves you and wants more than anything for you to know the healing of his forgiveness and the true liberation and joy in following his will for your life.
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