Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Honoring Our Children

I've been reading John Bevere's book Honor's Reward this week. Incidentally, Liz T and I were at the filming of one of John's curriculum DVDs for this book. That was pretty cool. I feel like I always say this, but seriously, this message could change your life.

He sets up from Scripture the fact that we are commanded by God to honor those in authority over us, those who are our peers, and those who are under our authority. Then, he spends the rest of the book explaining how to walk that out and telling incredible stories about how God has blessed him, his family, and those he knows that practice this principle.

If you've never read a John Bevere book, it's somewhat like a spiritual journey. The thing about this book that struck me was how pervasive dishonor is in our culture. We're taught to dishonor parents, teachers, political figures, doctors, our children, old people, young people, people who mess up, people who seem too "clean." The list goes on and on. John, in his straightforward way, explains how that goes against what God has asked us to do as Christians and therefore we miss the good life that comes when we live life the way our creator told us best works. (Sorry - hope you can follow that sentence.)

It's a simple concept, really, when you honor somebody they do everything they can for you. So does God, because when you honor people, you're really honoring God. You can't do it in a phony way, because people see right through that, but if you can really honor people from your heart, you recieve blessings. It's a spiritual principle.

Onto honoring our children.... I've been thinking about this. Humans have immortal spirits - they will never die. They will live forever either in Heaven or Hell. So, we all are, in a sense, ageless. Our children are placed by God under our authority to be trained and encouraged as they grow, but their spirits are just a valuable when they are 2 as when they are 45. Therefore, they are worthy of the same respect we would pay a peer. That doesn't mean we are released from our responsibility to them - to care for their needs, to train them in the way they should go, to give them the love and affection they need. I think it clarifies that responsibility all the more! However, we as moms know (and have probably dished out) discipline that honors and discipline that dishonors our children.

I am more convinced than I've ever been that there is no excuse whatsoever for demeaning our children. I've just been through three or four days of constant temper tantrums with Hannah. They were hard. But after understanding this message, and because of the fear of God that is in my heart, I will never treat my children in a dishonoring way again. And if I do, I will ask their forgiveness and God's forgiveness.

Thinking through all of this, I have realized some hard feelings I had toward Hannah that I never realized before. I have put expectations on her that were unfair, and then been upset when she did not fulfill them. I had a long talk with God about this, and my feelings toward her are different right now, today, than I think they've ever been. God can change our hearts - we are only good at putting on fascades that don't hold up under pressure.

This is still new and taking hold in my heart, but I feel like it is lifechanging. I highly recommend you get the book, and begin praying (as I am) for a heart that honors people.


  1. His msg has really impacted me also. I just put his book on order at the library. :) What a great msg!! I think the enemy would try to have us not realize the signifigance of this because even he realizes the blessing and all that is behind honoring. Just my thought.

  2. Just bought the book on Amazon. Thanks.

  3. Hard feelings...that is a tough one. I know I have hard feelings for Cole. But it has been 5yrs of uphill battle with him, how can I not have hard feelings. I don't want to be "mean mommy" but sometimes I just slip so easily into that role.

    I totally understand what you are saying.

  4. Nick says I oughta work for the Beveres lately. :)

    Christina - I know what you're expressing. It is so easy to tell myself, "I have a right to feel this way!" I was having a conversation with my mom recently though. She and my dad are mentoring couples in our church's "Marriage First Aid" class. She is listening to women recount these terrible things their husbands have done that hurt them deeply. Then, she told me, she says. "Okay. You have a right to be angry. That was terrible. But now what are you going to do with it? Are you going to allow that bitterness to destroy you and your marriage, or are you going to make a different decision?"

    That really impacted me and came to mind as I thought through this, because many times as parents (as well as spouses) we do have a right to be angry! But, God tells us, "You have before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life that you may live." We have to make the right choice. We must choose life if we want to really live. That means letting go of our rights to...anything. Laying down our life like Christ.

    The other thing I would say in response is that we can't do it. Period. Only God can do this kind of heart-changing. I'm fed up with putting on a kind front - you know the one, where I'm really seething mad, but determine to use a kind tone for the day? That's done in my own willpower, without asking God to do the changing. I think that's usually phony hypocrisy...not to mention it doesn't work for more than a couple minutes! :) We have to be open to God's work in our lives, and we have to be willing to be changed, and then He does the changing.

    Maybe we should all be praying for each other - that God will make our hearts toward our children what they need to be!

  5. There are so many times when I feel ridiculous because I lost my temper at a FOUR year old.
    It's so silly when you think about it.
    But, though I pray that those times would be kept to a minimum, it is nice to know that God in his grace even uses them to teach both me and my children about things like mercy and forgiveness. Especially when I'm the one asking for it.