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Strong Medicine
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I have a family member and a friend battling cancer right now. This disease is not to be trifled with. It is deadly and will consume you without intervention. If the spread of these abnormal cells is not controlled, it will result in death. In 2012 about 577,000 people in the U.S. died of cancer. That is about 1,500 people a day. Regardless of the type of cancer or your method of treatment, it takes strong medicine and concerted therapy to check the disease.

There is a “cancer” that can take root in the heart of a child that will eventually destroy them. It is called rebellion. Such an attitude in the heart can turn a person completely away from the Lord. Strong medicine is needed to save our children from the results of pushing against God’s authority. Samuel compared rebellion with witchcraft when confronting the evil heart of King Saul (1 Samuel 15:23).

But where do you begin? It can be easy to fall into expressing anger and frustration at our kids. The Bible warns against this. James 1:20 says “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God..” More specifically, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). So, parents should examine their own hearts before working with the rebellious hearts of their children.

Wrong Direction

Like making lifestyle changes to battle cancer, sometimes there are changes that need to happen in our homes to remove influences that feed the heart of a rebellious child. If there is free, unlimited, unfiltered Internet access, this should be monitored. There might be friends in the child’s life that are dragging your son or daughter in the wrong direction. These may need to be completely cut off. Whatever is filling your children with evil influences needs to be removed and good needs to be put in its place.

Parents who set strong boundaries and remove bad influences may be tempted to pull away from their children. But this probably the best time to lean forward, to spend more time with them. Draw close to your sons and daughters. Listen and show interest in their lives. Praise them for any progress they make in their attitude. Apologize for anything you may have done to hurt them.

The challenge of parenting is to live with a balance of love and law with our children. We all tend toward one or the other. When our children exhibit a rebellious spirit, our own response can be react in one extreme or the other. Instead of coming down on them in anger, or taking all the responsibility on ourselves, we need to show interest in our kids while at the same time setting boundaries.

Rebellious hearts are deadly and need serious attention. Let’s do whatever it takes to love and guide them in the right direction.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelinesScripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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