Unspoiling Your Kids


Honour your parents in obedience to God but don’t dare honour your kids if they are out of line.

Eli had the priesthood stripped from his lineage because he wouldn’t correct his boys, he let them take advantage of God’s people and God’s ministry. Overlooking the rebellion of his spoiled sons was a two edged sword, Eli was cursed and so were his boys.

Don’t overlook it, deal with it! Yeah, but it’s a tricky business.

On one side of the sword you are being judged by your children’s behaviour. And on the other side their future is determined by your objectivity in training them now.

Side One

Paul told Timothy that an overseer must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) I Timothy 3:4-5

Side Two

Don’t misinterpret that as “I must show my family to be picture perfect.” Because your family isn’t, nor is the ministry you lead.

Terry and I have natural born kids, adopted kids, spouses of both those categories, other people’s kids that have adopted themselves to us, even a divorced spouse of an adopted son who is has full daughter status, and I have been accused of missing the mark with all of them! But I can’t allow those accusations to affect the way I treat my kids, even though my judges may be people who are important to me too.

So let’s compare the ministry and the family, as Paul does:

If someone in the church is in open rebellion and won’t repent, what is the next step? Kick him out. Same with your kids. That’s leading in a manner of full respect. That’s what Eli missed.

Because I love my kids I treat them in response to their behaviour rather than in respect to my own good reputation.  The ones I’ve been firm with, some of them to the point of excommunication from the family home, have grown up and come back to bless us. But the ones we’ve pampered and protected from consequences became spoiled. ‘Spoiled’ is defined as; damaged, harmed, ruined, wrecked or destroyed, by whoever did the spoiling. Not only are they harmed but so is the spoiler, like Eli. Spoiling is not cute and it’s not a joke and it will come back to bite you.

How can a parent tell the difference between spoiling and loving?

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