Last week I sat down at the dinner table. With frustration in my voice I asked my 8 year old daughter, "Why haven't you changed out of your white t-shirt since we're having spaghetti?" She shrugged and said, "I don't know." Within a matter of seconds I glanced down and saw what I was wearing. You guessed it -- a white t-shirt! We all laughed as I quickly apologized to my daughter.
It happens everyday. In the midst of tiredness and frustration we say things like, "Why can't you be more patient?!" Or how about this one. "Get your homework done and then you can watch T.V.! Why are you procrastinating again?!" Or, "Honey, it's all gonna be fine. School is fun. You have nothing to worry about."
Hello! Are you always patient? Do you ever put things off? Are you anxious when it comes to change?
We all parent with a plank in our eye. We expect so much from our kids and so little from ourselves. It's amazing how we can see the spec in our 8 year old's eye and miss the plank in our own. And through it all, I picture God chuckling at us with a tender, patient smile. He knows that parenting reveals our hearts and how slow we are to grow up to maturity in Christ.
So what do we do?
1. Start by pulling the plank out of your parenting eye
Be quick to confess your sins to your kids. Jesus tells us, ″Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5
2. Help your child to see the speck in his eye
In a spirit of humility, we must help our children to see their sin in light of God's holiness and grace. But let's be careful to distinguish between sin and immaturity. All too often we expect too much from our kids and don't allow them to be kids.
3. Together run to the cross as fellow sinners in need of a Savior
When we have seen the reality of our sin we must not stop there. We must take our children with us to the cross and remind them that "Daddy needs Jesus just as much as you do." After all, parenting is less about pointing out every sin, and more about pointing them to the Savior, the One who never had a spec in his eye but always lived in perfect obedience to his Father. He is our only hope.