UPDATE: It’s vital that we comprehend the way God listens, understands, loves and disciplines us as His children. Not only will it enable us to apply God’s perspective on parenting to our own children, it will give us insight as believers on how to communicate with one another. We are called by God to love our neighbors, and let’s be honest, love is sometimes easier said than done. Consider how you can apply these lessons to your own family . . . and in all your relationships. — Jentezen
Listen | Understand | Love | Discipline
God understands us. How do we know this? Can you remember how old your children were when they first started saying, “You just don’t get it.” Mine were probably five! But we do get it because we’ve been there, and so has Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (NKJV).
Not only can God sympathize with us, he knows all there is to know about us, yet still offers to love and forgive us! Let’s just consider how well He knows each one of us:
- For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes (Jeremiah 16:7).
- You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off (Psalm 139:2)
- For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether (Psalm 139:4).
- Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8).
- But the very hairs of your head are all numbered … (Luke 12:7).
God understands our temptations and struggles. He knows our secrets and shortcomings. He knows our thoughts, our words and our needs before we do. Just read Psalm 139 and you’ll be reminded of your intricate beginnings and God’s deep knowledge of who you are. Therein lies the lesson we can apply to parenting and our families: Despite all He knows and understands about us, He’s forgiving and wants to be in relationship with us.
Understanding your children is about more than knowing them. It’s accepting them and being patient with them. We have to give our children a foundation to stand on … and then give them wings! They need to know that there is grace when they fail, but also guidance to get them back on track. They need forgiveness for their errant ways, and a path to restoration. I am not saying you let them get away with mischief over and over—remember, discipline is another lesson coming up—I’m saying you make it clear that your love is unconditional.
The proof that we understand our children is that we’re patient with them. We replace anger and the need for revenge with mercy and grace. We extend the same understanding we receive from God our father to our children.
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established (Proverbs 24:3).
Establish your house for generations to come. Establish a foundation for your children to stand on, a place they can run to and not from.