Just as our teenagers need to anchor their identity in the existence and character of God, they also need their identities to be firmly rooted in community. This is another key function of the family.
A Club You Don’t Choose
Sinners naturally want to please themselves and will do pretty much whatever it takes to get their way. We are much better at making war and causing division than making peace and creating unity. The family is a non-voluntary club you join at birth. You don’t get to choose who is in the club or even if you want to be a member!. Teenagers tend to have little patience for others, especially others that are not doing what they want them to do. We see conflicts arise on a regular basis as a group of very different individuals struggling to get along or avoid each other at all costs.
The Second Commandment
The greatest commandment in the Bible is to love the Lord your God and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. Raising godly children not only means to teach them to love God but also to love their neighbor. What better place to teach this principle than the home. The family will teach and model what it means to love your neighbor as yourself or it will violate that standard and teach self-centered individualism.
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (ESV)
In the rush of our busy schedules it’s so easy to simply stop fights, separate the angry individuals, and regain quiet without actually teaching them how to love each other. Jesus taught this principle in Matthew 23, when He rebuked the Pharisees for emphasizing the easy to observe laws and outward actions and failing to address the heart issues like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. When you see conflict look for the root causes of selfishness, individualism, and being demanding. Take a moment to thank God for the opportunities to shepherd His children and then help your children learn how to do the impossible: to share, to love and to serve others above themselves. Teach them that it is only through the Holy Spirit’s work and a heart given to God can they live in community.
I’m praying for you. Let me know how I can help or better serve you and your family.
in HIS service,
P.S. The themes and main ideas come from Paul David Tripp’s book “Age of Opportunity”. I’m summarizing what I read, adding my own thoughts and Scripture too.
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