Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thoughts on Parental Authority

authority - 1. the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
2. a power or right delegated or given; authorization: Who has the authority to grant permission?

Notice two particular phrases used in the above definitions: the power and the right.

Sometimes parents just need to remember that they have been given authority by God; invested in that authority is power and privilege.

With power and privilege comes responsibility. The scriptural exhortation is to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." We must take our charge seriously. We are interested in accurate representation of Him through true judgment and appropriate discipline. Wisdom is coveted as we seek to instruct, train, and guide our children.

But in our fervent attempt to represent Him properly, in our awareness of the need to steward these charges for His purposes, we sometimes reach an impasse. We stall, choke, freeze. What if we do this wrong? Isn't it possible that we will somehow permanently damage his soul, his psyche? Couldn't we misshape him? What about that decision made on their behalf - did we misdirect them? Did they miss out on God's will because of us?

This is weighty stuff. It could leave your head spinning, and often it does. As I said, we freeze. At the very least, we end up with a knotted stomach.

But God, in His wisdom, gave us the power and the right - He Himself stands by our decisions. Obviously, we are talking about decisions made within the confines of Scripture - step beyond those bounds and you are on your own. But we can have confidence - no, we must have confidence - in His choosing us, in His investment of authority in such earthy vessels, and in His willingness to stand by that choice and empowerment.

We were sanctioned for this very purpose - to walk in His appointed authority. No psychology book will give you that authority, no culture or tradition, no talk show host, no author or specialist. That's right, not even the professionals. It comes from Him, and it is already yours. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord." That is their portion, and the blessing of obedience to that command can be theirs. You have the power to
determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; the right to control, command, or determine.

You have the power and the right.

What you determine may not agree with a neighbor or friend. The command you give will often look different. That is okay! Maybe you aren't sure about the psychological impact of your discipline. Don't let it stymie you! Am I advocating a complete isolation from all input and counsel? Of course not! First and foremost is the scripture. We must always heed the principles and truths we learn from those precious pages. And the wise will look to those who have been successful before them. Look, listen, and learn. There is much to glean from the experience of others.

Remember, today you are equipped, not tomorrow after you've read another book or had that counseling session. Don't be lulled into inaction because of fear or lack of confidence. God will bless your efforts. God Himself will lead you. And He will use your choices for good in the lives of your children. My! What a totally hopeless calling this would be apart from the confidence we have in Him. The fact that He is working all things together for good in their lives is my life-line!

I want to encourage parents who are walking in the light to realize that they can determine, command, and yes, even control with God's endorsement. They rule the roost, they can have it their way. When Dad or Mom speak a word or command, it has just become God's will for their children. Period. A child's appropriate submission to Dad's word will build them for God's purposes. The command is not the most important aspect - submission is. God is able to use us in that way. Touching or not touching that particular toy is not the thing that will ultimately prepare them; it is their submission and obedience to what Mom and Dad require that will prepare them. It is not whether or not you administered that spanking in the exact same manner as your friend does - it is their response to the spanking that matters.

Please understand, I am not saying that we can be flippant in our dealings with our children. But I am saying this: God did not intend for this to be so overwhelmingly difficult that we need a doctorate in childhood psychology in order to accomplish His will. Nor should it intimidate in such a way that we are left immobilized. He is with us, He empowers us, He stands by us, He even accomplishes His purposes through us. And it is His doing more than our own.

Let us humbly acknowledge that it is Him, not us. And therefore, let us act with confidence, walking in the fullness of the authority He bestowed. He has supplied us with power and privilege so that the job could be done with joy and simplicity, knowing that our greatest hope is His great faithfulness.


Blogger connielafaver said...

That is certainly wonderful and great stuff. A lot of information... Thanks Dar.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darlene thank you for this blog. You have widom that I so enjoy learning from.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Quinne said...

Hi Darlene :) What a wonderful post! Thank you for the encouragement today. Love, Q

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

was there a spiderman quote in there?
and does this have anything to do with opening my mail?

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post. If I didn't know better, I'd think you'd been listening to a conversation Josh and I just had last night about discipline! We're constantly learning and re-applying His Word, trusting we'll see results.

And the word is that you know where we can cut our own Christmas tree. I'd love the info if you don't mind sharing it. :-)

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darlene, I enjoy your blog very much. Your words of knowledge and wisdom are exceptional. Great advice to pass along to my children in helping raise theirs. Much Love, Nancy C.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darlene, as one who worries she may be "hurting" her children at times (there is a lot of mumbo jumbo out there), your words are a boost of confidence and strength. Thank you so much.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have I ever told you that I love so very many of you CFC ladies?
You encourage me by doing what you do. Thank you times one million.
P.S. We are doing great over here!
I have had wuite the lazy day on the couch (maybe fighting off a cold?) It has been nice to read these challenging things...

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a wonderful blog .thank you for writing was very thought provoking.......Blessings, Jenn friend of Dee and Kayla L

5:57 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I really enjoyed this post, it encouraged me in continuing on in a revelation I had some time ago. When I first became a mother I felt tremendous pressure to raise, train, and discipline my son in a certain manner. As time went on, and more children came my frustration with motherhood grew.

I finally had a wonderful revelation from the Lord that He created me to be me - that included being "me" while I mothered. I had certain gifts, talents, and ways that were best for reaching the hearts of my children that couldn't be done if I was trying to imitate someone else's form of child raising.

It was difficult for me at first to endure sideways glances, raised eyebrows, and little comments here and there. But I have overcome that - I am more driven to please my Father than others, and it is more important that I be who I was created to be to minister to their needs as only I know.

Becoming a Mom doesn't change the gifts God gave to me to use, turning me into a new person - it's just another added feature now ;-)

Good stuff!

10:45 AM  
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10:46 PM  

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