Too many parents are hungry for power over their children. You see this in public places, where parents try to lord their authority over their children in ways that bribe them or threaten them into submission. There is no display of love, no thought of cultivating a relationship, and certainly no humility. Those kinds of parents raise angry children who will grow up to be angry and rebellious teenagers and eventually distant adults who want little or nothing to do with their parents – unless, of course, the grace of God intervenes and rescues those people from their sins in salvation.
Parenting is not a matter of always being right. It is a matter of being biblical, godly, and humble. While the biblical authority structure must be adhered to, the godly parent will remain humble in his position of authority, whether he is right or wrong in any situation.
It is our job as parents to shepherd the hearts of our children towards Christ-likeness. This implies a shepherd/sheep relationship, understanding that our task as shepherds is a daunting one that requires outside help. We must seek to mimic our Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself is “meek and lowly of heart.” He is the chief authority, and yet displays amazing humility in His authority. This is our model as parents.
In John 13, when the Lord washed the disciples’ feet, there were certain things John says to preface that beautiful scene. Christ knew, for instance, that Judas was merely minutes away from leaving to betray Him, and yet Christ washed his feet. Think about the humility in that action. The feet which would soon run to betray Him were washed by the humble hands of Christ. Apply this to parenting. Our children may do cruel things against us, but are we willing to remain humble before them, and serve them in humility, even as our Lord served his betrayer?
Christ also knew His position of great authority. Think about it. Christ was the only one in that group of thirteen who deserved to be served, and yet He was the only one who was willing to serve the others by washing their feet. The Master served the disciples in humility. As parents, it can be easy for us to use our authority as a means of escaping certain tasks that we don’t like to do and make our children do them. Or we refuse to do certain things because we are above those tasks. Those responses do not communicate humility like our Savior.
Christ loved those disciples to the very end. His love was demonstrated to them in humble service. We as parents say we love our children, but are we willing to serve them in various ways? Don’t get me wrong. This does not do away with the parent/child distinction and authority structure. However, can we do favors for our children, get something they forgot in the house, or help them perform tasks around the house, all with a humble heart?
Godly parenting is humble parenting, recognizing that we are not the supreme authority of our home. Christ must be the head of our home. We are all under His authority, and must function according to His standards, through the power of the Holy Spirit and His grace. In humility, Christ willingly went to the cross for us. In humility we, as parents, must exemplify Christ before our children. We must humbly pray for God to save them, sanctify them, and make them humble servants of Christ.