“The tongue can bring death or life.” Proverbs 18:21a NLT
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11a
Do you happen to have a child who always seems to get into trouble? Is it hard to discipline that child? Does discipline seem to make matters worse? I meet moms from all over who struggle with one or more of their children. These kids push their parents’ buttons and manage to get into trouble more than any of their other children. These precious moms cry about not understanding their children and worry about how hard they are to raise and about their futures. The thought of having a rebellious teenager is really scary.
In our home, one of our sweet children struggled with getting into trouble more than the other. She would get sassy, I would get angry and start yelling, and then we would both slide down the slippery slope together, feeling bad about ourselves all the way down. As I look back on those times in my life, I can feel really discouraged. But I am so happy to say that God’s grace helped me and my sweet daughter to understand each other better, and now we enjoy a close relationship as adults. Do we still have bumps? Of course! But I believe the Lord has helped me to uncover the key to understanding my daughter’s heart. Would you like to hearabout it? Okay, here goes. It’s called the ministry of encouragement: using kind words, calling out the good things my daughter does, and overlooking the bad as much as possible.
Isn’t that what God does with us? Does He discipline us when we need it? Yes. But does He forgive us quickly when we repent? Yes! And doesn’t He tell us how much He loves us, especially when we read His love letter to us—the precious Word of God? Yes! God is the ultimate encourager, and He wants us to also encourage our children, whether they are young or old.
He wants us to love our children, give them grace and forgive, and find the good tucked away in their hearts. He wants us to pray to see their true essence—what they can become with time, encouragement, and prayer—especially when they are misbehaving. After all, our kids struggle with their flesh just like we do. They can act even worse when they are getting into trouble. Remember, our kids have the same devil tempting them that we adults do, and He speaks lies into their hearts too.
I love what 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” When we choose to love our children and encourage them with our words, it opens up their hearts and helps them to overcome the enemy. Love changes things. Yes, we still need to discipline our kids when they disobey, but they always need to know that we are on their side, and never ever against them, no matter what. Our unconditional love is a weapon against the enemy and helps our kids to overcome their struggles. Loving them unconditionally is a practical way we can become the hands and feet of Jesus to them, and it will change their lives!
So where do you go from here? I think praying for your children to feel unconditionally loved by you is a great start. Ask the Lord to help you overcome evil with good. Ask Him to help you to love like Jesus, and to show it with your love, grace, and words.
Pray with Me:
“Lord Jesus, please help me to love my children just like You do—unconditionally and with grace. Help me to see the good in them and to speak encouraging words as much as possible. Please give my children healing and even amnesia about any hurtful words I may have spoken, and bring us closer together than ever before. Rewrite the love story between me and my children. Help me to love them well and help us both to forgive ourselves and each other when we mess up. Help us to live enveloped in Your grace and to give each other that same grace each day. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Have a Talk with God:
Ask to show you new ways to encourage your children’s hearts. Ask Him to give you ideas on how to love them like Jesus today.