Today’s guest blogger is Whitney Standlea. You can read more of Whitney’s writings here.
absolutely convinced that there is no child in the world as wonderful or
special as my own. Carson’s eyes must be the most beautiful eyes of any child
anywhere. Justus’ passion for construction trucks and hot dogs must rival any
boy’s or man’s. And of course, that flowered dress wouldn’t look near as pretty
on any other little girl but Joy. When my children smile, it lights up my whole
fascinating about this is that I know other parents feel the same way about
their children. And it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I want them to think that way about their
children. While it can be taken to unhealthy extremes, I think this is a good
gift to give our children. Many benefits come from having a high view of the
individuality, beauty and talent of our children. One of the most important in
my mind is a unique foretaste of the great blessedness of being a child of God.
When parents lovingly express the specialness and uniqueness of a child, I
believe it can lay a foundation for being able to believe that God would
uniquely and specially love us as His own child. But I digress…
reason I bring this up is to draw parents to an offensive little phrase I
noticed in Scripture. It is this: “Like the rest of mankind.” I think I would
be either appalled or offended if anyone walked up to me and said, “Your
daughter is just like the rest of ‘em. Smiles like them. Looks like them.” So
is your son or daughter just like the rest of ‘em? Let’s walk through Ephesians
2 and see what is so important about this annoying little phrase.
of Ephsians, Paul graciously reminds us that our salvation is so great because
of who we once were. He tells us we were dead, disobedient, separated from
Christ, and children of wrath! The point of the passage is to remind us that
God is rich in mercy because He still chose to save us even though we were just like the rest of the
world walking in all the lusts of our flesh. There was absolutely nothing
different about us. But something struck me as I was studying this text. As
much as I hate to admit it, Paul gave only two categories for mankind: children
of wrath and children of God. I can admit that I used to be a “child of wrath”
but I preferred there be a third category: “Children of Whitney Standlea.” But
there isn’t. I had to place my children in the context of one or the other. At
this time my children are “children of wrath like the rest of mankind.” Being
honest, once I thought about it I didn’t really like that idea.
sobering. My little sons that struggle to obey my voice are in the same general
category as the rapist on the news last night. My daughter in all her beauty is
really no different than the promiscuous teen that I would never allow to
babysit her. These little children that I care for, tend to, get frustrated
with, adore, and love everyday are children of wrath at their very nature. They are
separated from Christ, pursuing anything their hearts and minds desire.
is this unpleasant truth? If we can move past the splendid uniqueness of the
gift God has given us, what good does it do us as parents to recognize that our
children are really just like the rest of ‘em? I think this unpleasant
realization is of eternal significance. It is perhaps the most propelling part
of the particular love a parent has for her own child. The more we can
understand and grasp at this truth, the more eager I believe we will be to
share the great love of God with our children. As we see that their lives,
their gifts and talents, their eternities (that we value so much) are of little
worth unless surrendered to the Savior, we can refocus on the most important
calling we have as parents: to constantly call on our heavenly Father and avail
ourselves of every means God has given us to make our children become His children. In reality, if they only
remain our children, they merely remain “children of wrath, like the rest of
strive with all diligence to bring them before our Father in prayer and turn
their hearts to the love of the Savior. Let us remember that their eyes are
always watching and their ears always listening. May our tongues speak
constantly of His love and our hearts overflow with tenderness and patience
toward them just as God has demonstrated great kindness and patience with us.
May we be eager to seize the moment by moment opportunities we have to live and
speak the Gospel to our children with as great an eagerness as we would with
any other lost soul we have the opportunity to encounter. And as our hearts
become impatient and hardened toward our children, which they do, let us run
back to the great manner of love that God has bestowed on us-that we the
former children of wrath should
now be called the children of God!
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