Do your teenagers think you consider yourself better than they are?

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Few parents readily admit to acting on the motive of selfish ambition–sin deceives us, after all. Notice that Philippians 2:3 contrasts selfish ambition or rivalry with regarding others as more important or significant than yourself:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

Parents, do you regard your teenagers as more important than yourself? Before you answer that, let me say that regarding your teenagers as being more important than yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that you follow their wishes.

What does it mean? It means that you treat others, including your teenagers, with the respect that Scripture calls for. Your children are a trust, a blessing given to you by God. He calls upon you to live with them as he directs, not as you feel. So, following the example of the way God treats you, you are not to treat them as they deserve to be treated (Psalm 103:10). Instead, you listen intently and respectfully (Proverbs 18:13 &15), you say only things that are designed to benefit them (Ephesians 4:29), and you use pleasant words when you speak to them (Proverbs 16:20-24). Following these principles with your teenagers (or with anyone) is equivalent to considering them more important than yourself.

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