As I sit here thinking about how I teach my children about God’s deep love, I find myself in awe. My love is so imperfect… finite where His is infinite! How am I supposed to be able to teach my children about the perfect love of God? God takes my love, despite its imperfections, and uses it to give my children a small glimpse of the depth of His love. Like I said, I am in awe.
Love is not a feeling– it is an action! The best way for a child to learn is to do, so here are a few ways we can act out love daily.
The Bible talks about how God’s “loving kindness” is better than life. (Psalm 63:3) By nature, we are selfish people. All we have to do is observe a young child for a day to notice that we are born selfish. It’s about my needs. It’s about my wants. It’s about my desires. As parents acting out kindness every day, we are directing their love towards others. Kindness doesn’t have to be a chore — we can make kindness fun! “Let’s bake some cookies and take them to our neighbor today. That way she knows we are thinking about her.”
We are always going to mess up. And, so are our kids… often. Sometimes it can seem discouraging to watch our children continue to do the same wrong thing over, and over, and over again. It can wear us down! But how often do we do the same thing to God? How often do we make the same mistake over, and over, and over again? I battle the same sins and I’m betting you do, too. I can just picture God shaking His head thinking, how many times do I have to tell you?
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us (Ephesians 2:4) sent His son to the cross to forgive me of my sins. He didn’t do it because I am perfect. He did it because I need His forgiveness! I deserve punishment, but He has chosen to show you and me mercy daily. Perhaps one of the greatest ways to teach our kids about God’s deep love is to show them mercy. We can talk to them about how they deserve a certain punishment, but because of our love for them, we are going to show them mercy. Hug them. Love on them. If they are old enough to understand, talk about how God has shown us all mercy. Might I add a caution though not to use this as an excuse not to discipline… even God chastens us! Which leads me to my next point….
You may be thinking What? You can teach your children about the deep love of God by disciplining them? Won’t they think I’m being mean? YES! No one likes to be punished, but when we spend time teaching, admonishing, directing and disciplining our children, we are showing them that we love them and want what is best for them.
For the Lord disciplines the ones He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives. — Hebrews 12:6
Whom He receives… a child feels loved and accepted when a parent takes the time to discipline. I know it sounds contradictory, but disciplining properly is not “convenient.” It takes more time and love for us to stop what we are doing and focus on our child. It’s easier to turn a blind eye to their sin than to take time to correct. As the book a Good Good Father for Little Ones says, “No matter what you say or do, a Good Good Father never stops loving you.”
What are some godly ways you are showing your kids you love them like Jesus does every day?