March 31, 2017

Imperfect Parents

Today’s devotional makes me sad. The author points to Lot as a bad example of a parent, a man more interested in success in this life than eternal matters. He picked a wicked city to live in and raise his family. Finally, God told him to leave because He was going to judge Sodom . . .

So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. (Genesis 19:14)

Lot lost his home and most of his family. Today’s devotional reading condemns him for poor choices and hints that things might be different had he concentrated on following the Lord. While all that may be true, some people do try to follow the Lord and their children choose to walk away rather than listen. Why is that?

Romans 3 says that there is no one righteous, and not one person seeks God. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to awaken the human heart to their need. God might use the example of godly parents, or He might do it without any good example in a person’s life. I’ve seen rebellion in children who were raised by godly parents, and people surrender to Christ whose parents were set against Him.

That said, Lot was supposed to be a good example. So am I, not only to my children but to all those around me. Jesus said:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:13–15)

Clearly, I am responsible to be a light and let my light shine, but the Bible also says:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

It is partnership with God that makes a difference in raising a family, yet nothing is guaranteed. God, the perfect father, created Adam and Eve and put them in a perfect environment, yet they still made the wrong choice and sinned against Him. That was not God’s fault or His failure to be a good example.

Even good parents have regrets. I do. However, when our daughter was still a teen, she said to me, “Mom, don’t ever blame yourself for my bad choices. I made them and none of them are your fault.” More than thirty years later, I’m still blessing God for His incredible grace in giving her the wisdom and kindness to tell me this.

Jesus, when Your people err, You continue to show mercy. You took our sins and foolish mistakes upon Yourself and died for them. You live forever to intercede for us. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world, yet we have You, a perfect Savior, to guide and help us, and to forgive our sins as we stumble along trying to do our best. Without You, all would perish. Thank You for grace that encourages those who have made wrong choices and help to get back on the path. Encourage those whose children have rebelled against them and against You. Remind them that their story is not over and to keep praying because You hear the cries of our hearts.

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