By Neil Anderson
Ephesians 4:26, 27
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity
Suppose you possessed the means to give your child the best. What kind of parent would you be? What would be your role in determining what your child should be and do? Maybe you would be tempted to respond like the parents of a girl named Jill.
Jill’s parents were high-tech professionals and nominal Christians. Jill had always been given every opportunity to be the best. Driven by her parents to perfection, her grades were tops. Her parents wanted her to attend their alma mater and join her mother’s sorority, but she wanted to attend a Christian college.
When Jill came to my office she was anorexic, struggling with her thought life, and had been cutting herself. In making a list of the people she needed to forgive, her parents were right at the top. Her tears began slowly at first. “Lord, I forgive my father for never even considering what I would like to do with my life.” Then the floodgates opened, and she was able to find her freedom in Christ. The voices stopped, the cutting stopped and she was at peace in her mind. The spiritual component of her problem was resolved.
Soon the relational component was also resolved. Guided by her counselor, Jill reached a compromise with her parents. She attended their alma mater for one year, then transferred to a Christian school with their blessing.
I’m not saying that misguided, over-controlling parents cause their children to have spiritual problems. But parents who don’t learn how to speak the truth in love and express their anger without sinning may give the devil an opportunity in their family (Ephesians 4:25-27). And if you and your children don’t learn how to bear with each other and forgive one another in the close confinement of a family relationship, you may give Satan an advantage (Colossians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 2:10, 11). And if you don’t humble yourself, cast your potential anxieties on the Lord, and adopt an alert and sober spirit, you may be devoured by your adversary, the devil (1 Peter 5:8).
Prayer: Lord, help me be genuine and honest before my family, enabling them to be what You created them to be.