Saturday, January 16, 2010

God Needs No Super Nanny

I was watching "The Nanny" last night and was appalled by the parenting I witnessed. More than this I was dumbfounded that someone would actually go on television and advertise their ridiculous, selfish and immature attitudes to the nations.  Most of us, recognize that children need to be loved and cared for, but we also understand the importance of structure & discipline.  While we admit this is beneficial for our children, we have a hard time parlaying that to our relationship with God.  We live in a theological culture that emphasizes the Father heart of God.  This is a wonderful and an accurate interpretation of our relationship with God as our Heavenly Father.  The only critique I have, is that in it's understanding and teaching we sometimes emphasize the Love, Grace and Mercy of God without balancing the Justice & Judgment of God.  God obviously doesn't need a super nanny as He serves as the example of a perfect parent, balancing sacrificial, unconditional love and abounding grace, with perfect justice and discipline.

1. As a perfect parent God does not give us everything we want.  Good parents do not entertain their child's every whim. A good parent will not grant their child's wish to take a loaded gun to school for show and tell, because the consequences could be fatal. How detrimental would it be, if every prayer request we lifted up was granted. God does not give us what we think we need,instead, He provides us what He knows we need. Of course at times this leaves us disappointed, because sometimes it makes no sense why God chooses to not intervene on our behalf.   "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways." ~Isaiah 55:8.  Though in His infinite wisdom, God offers the best possible response in any given situation; even if that response results in our present disappointment with Him.  "Maybe it is in the depth of God’s caring that He is aware that the present disappointment can lead to greater blessings on the other side of that disappointment." God is not a genie in a bottle and  any psychologist or parenting expert will tell you that over indulging a child is one of the most crippling things you can do to them. So why would we expect our Heavenly Father to debilitate us by placing the proverbial silver spoon in out mouths.
2. As a perfect parent God does not absolve us of the earthly consequences of our decisions.  Indeed when we recognize the error of our ways, and ask for forgiveness with a repentant heart God promises to forgive us.  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." ~1 John 1:9.  Not only this, He tells us that He forgets about it, not holding it against us.  "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins." ~Isaiah 43:5.  However the earthly consequences of our actions are still ours to face.  David is a good biblical example of this.  He repented of His sins, including his affair with Bathsheba and enjoyed the fullness of God's Grace (Psalm 32) but still there were consequences that left his family a mess and brought shame to him and his father.   So it is true for us, if we murder someone we're going to jail.  If we cheat on our spouse there is going to be a long road of healing ahead.. If we do drugs suffer the consequences of a myriad of losses.  Lie to friend we lose trust. God is the good parent, and it would do us no good and much harm if He were to absolve us of the earthly consequences of our mistakes.

3. As a perfect parent God disciplines us.  No one likes to think of God as a disciplinarian, but could you imagine children who have grown up without correction.  As His children when we are rebuked it is not from a place of anger but love. "But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction.  It's the child he loves that God corrects, a father's delight is behind all this."~ Proverbs 3:9-12.  Like any good parent, God wants what is best for us, to spare us future pain and misery.  "When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world." ~1 Corinthians 11:32. We face punishment now, so we won't have to face greater punishment later.

Our heavenly Father, loves us with a perfect well-balanced love and responds to us in a manner that will lead us to full maturity, enabling and equpping us to receive the blessings that come with a life well lived, ultimately reunited with Him.  No super nanny required.

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