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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: Truly, parents and children need each other
Larry Sheehy mug web
Larry Sheehy

God intended that every home should be a place of joy and fulfillment. 

Obviously, this desire hasn’t been fulfilled in every case, since we are imperfect humans, and some are unwilling to follow God’s will.

But, these aren’t necessarily hopeless situations; people can change for the better! If family members will seriously seek to understand — and help meet — the legitimate needs of others, the home can be filled with ever-increasing joy!

Some needs of parents from their children. Con-sider that parents have a need for their children’s obedience. 

This has always been true, as evidenced by Paul in two efforts to encourage “children” of all ages to be obedient to those in whose charge God has placed them. They are to do so because “this is right” (Ephesians 6:1), and it “pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). One writer wisely suggested, “There will never be a time when it is right for children to disregard, dishonor, and disobey their parents.”

Parents need to be honored by their children. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land” (Ephesians 6:2-3). 

Now, some might think this is the same thing as obedience. But we can obey anyone, even those we don’t respect, much less honor. In the best of worlds, however, the two will complement each other.

Parents need their children’s cooperation. A happy home is the responsibility of everyone. The parable of two sons in Matthew 21 shows both cooperation and the refusal to cooperate in following their father’s instruction. Jesus implied that cooperation brings the blessing of God. The parable also teaches that people can change.

Children have needs from their parents: Parents who put God and his will first in their own lives. Parents who do this can’t go wrong in rearing their children.Parents who will discipline them with love and consistency.

Those who think that corporal discipline of children is abuse needs to consider that he is arguing with God and denying their children one of their greatest needs. As in everything, “God knows best!”

Parents who will set the best example possible for them. We learn by instruction from others; but far more by teaching backed up by consistent example. Dr. Thomas Warren, one of my graduate professors, said in a speech in 1972 in Memphis, “Probably no influence, other than the Bible, is greater on children than the example of parents.”

Tragically, some children are taught what amounts to “practical atheism” by parents’ who demonstrate their lack of respect for God, the Bible and the church.

There are several other needs for parents and children that we may look at later. To paraphrase the title of a fine book on marriage, written by Dr. Warren: “A home is for those who love God — and one another.” Parents and children need to love one another —  and show it!


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