Or are they glorious?
Puppies are cute, kittens are cute.
Children are glorious.
They are made in God’s image.
Last week, Patricia and I were in the dentist’s office. A mom was there with two small kids. Apparently, she did not know what to do with them, because she picked up a magazine and read, ignoring them. They explored the room, interrupting her reading occasionally. They were left alone even when with their mom.
On their own. All alone. Mom was “gone.”
I believe that the image of God should affect the way we raise our kids in two distinct ways.
First, it should influence our view of them, their value, and their worth. When you are with your children, BE WITH THEM. Read to them, talk with them, observe them.
It will affect how we treat them. Jesus said, “What you do to the least of these, you do it to Me.” “If you offend one of these little ones, it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea.” We are talking about their personhood, this connection to the eternal Person that gives them value. . . and merits our attention.
John Eldredge in his little book Epic says, “We have talked so much about original sin that we have left out the truth about ‘original glory.’” This is why the long “begat” passages in the Bible are there. They call us to remember that our original father Adam was a son of God. Jesus came to restore us to the Father as his sons.
Secondly, recognizing that our children are made in the image of God will cause us to raise them for a higher purpose. I think of the Jewish mother who was so proud of her twin boys; even as she pushed them around in their stroller, she would introduce them as the doctor and the lawyer. She caught a big vision for them early.
So must we. We must see our little ones coming into adulthood. As we raise them and protect their years of play and childhood exploration, we keep the end in mind. We watch for their gifting, their inclinations, their strengths, their weaknesses. As they enter the teen years, we guide them along the adventurous path of discovering life purpose. We intentionally connect them to other adults who can help guide them toward a whole and blessed lifestyle.
We enjoy their present looking toward their future. This is one of the most satisfying parts of parenting, this joint journey of discovering who this person is that you gave life to. It is also why discipline and training is so important; we move them along the track of God’s purpose.
Last week we learned this: we manage our homes with godly dignity because we are made in God’s image.
Today we see two things about our children:
We nurture the glorious image of God that lies hidden within them, and
We train them toward God’s purpose and glory (best defined by the likeness of Christ, entering into becoming his brother: Romans 8:28-29)
That “cute little thing” you are raising has glory in his DNA. That teen that is struggling to become his own person needs you to help him see the glory he is created for.
We are made by Him and for Him.
Have a glorious day!