I want to trust my kids, but sometimes things happen—like lying—that undermine my ability to trust them. I caught one of my kids this morning at our neighbor’s house surfing the Internet. I was supposed to pick this one up at 9:00 a.m. but instead got to the house at 8:00 a.m., catching him off guard. When I entered the house he literally leaped out from the office by the front door and looked as surprised as I was.
My heart was broken. I had made a very big deal about not getting on the Internet outside of our home, and he’d broken that rule, and he knew he was wrong. As we were driving to my in-laws house I was getting more upset the longer I lectured him. I was going into great detail on how he hurt me by sneaking around and doing something he knew he should not do. How my trust level with him was spiraling down and almost completely gone. The more I talked the more I got upset and hurt over the ordeal.
But then, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit convicted me in a powerful and immediate way. I was informed to stop lecturing and start loving my son. I was feeling discouraged because it didn’t seem that he really cared that he got caught breaking a very important rule to me. He wasn’t repentant, but rather, he was simply giving me the “right” answers to my accusations.
Once I started sharing with my son how much I loved him, and that the only reason I was making a big deal out of this situation was that I care for him tremendously. I care about his character. I care about his integrity. Once I started sharing this information to my son, I actually broke down and started crying. It was only then that I saw in his eyes the validation of my hurt. He finally got it:
“Dad loves me and only wants the best for me.”
I pulled the car over on the side of the street and hugged my son. I could see his heart was broken because of the hurt he caused me. It was a powerful moment. He still got a consequence for disobeying, but I felt like he got the real message:
“I dishonored dad today, and I don’t like that feeling.”
Maybe instead of lecturing our kids when they make a mistake, we need to remind them how precious they are to us.
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