Part 1 showed us the value of focusing on the long term.
Part 2 gave us the game plan.
But what if a child’s behavior is not what it appears to be?
Not What It Seems
The immediate disobedience of a child may not be what it appears, and the “obedience” of another child may not be what it seems.
We read the words of Jesus in Matthew 21:28-31,
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered and said, ‘I will, sir’; and he did not go.
And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered and said, ‘I will not’; yet he afterward regretted it and went.
Which of the two did the will of his father?”
They said, “The latter.”
From a family perspective, we learn that one child appears to be obedient, but is not. Another appears to be disobedient, but is not. This is a great illustration for us.
When we gaze only at the child’s immediate behavior, we fool ourselves about the eventual outcome. In many cases, we don’t know what is going on inside the child.
Thus, if our child appears disobedient (short-term or long-term), we must ask, “Am I continuing to act on G.U.I.D.E.S?”
If our child appears obedient (short-term or long-term), we must still ask, “Am I continuing to act on G.U.I.D.E.S?
Judging Parents Based On Outcome
How sad when we judge parents as “bad parents” because the today’s outcome in their children isn’t looking favorable.
What if that parent is parenting God’s way and the child is refusing to obey?
(Let me add, I have seen such families–years later these children are serving Christ in wonderful ways.)
On the other hand, we praise parents as good parents because today’s outcome in their children is looking good and godly!
What if these parents are using unholy means to achieve worthy ends? What if they are not parenting God’s way? Does this justify what is happening?
(I have also seen such families-years later those children have hardened themselves to the Lord.)
God’s Game Plan
The bottom line is this: we must stick to God’s game plan in the face of apparent defeat or victory.
If we let defeat defeat us, we will take our eyes off God’s call to act on G.U.I.D.E.S.
If we let our apparent victory lull us into changing our game plan, as many teams do late in the game, we can end up losing.
Heaven forbid we are “winning” by using unholy means to achieve godly ends.
How do we parent God’s way?