Are You Raising Hellions?
by Jeff Coble
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“Hellion” - A mischievous, troublesome, or unruly person. This would be an antonym to “godly offspring” mentioned in Malachi 2:15. Or would it? I can’t help but think with all the issues we seem to be having with our kids, God has something for us to learn, particularly considering the verses in Malachi 2:17 - 3:14
Consider the comments/accusations that God made to His chosen people (children) in Malachi: “I have loved you.” “You despise my name.” “You defile me (fail to respect me).” “You have wearied me.” “Your words have been harsh.” How many of these comments could we make to our own children, those godly little offspring of ours? I think at one time or another all of these comments would be appropriate. And what was His children’s responses to the comments? “Hoooooooooow?” (You have to draw it out in a whiney voice.) “WHAT?! WHO?! ME?!” (You’ve got to do this one sarcastically and in a “How dare you accuse me. . .” tone.) Or maybe , “Nuh-uh” (as they shake their heads violently in denial). Are you starting to feel God’s pain yet? And on the flip side, are you starting to see yourself reflected in the responses of his people?
We are not so different from our own children when it comes to obedience and honor of our Heavenly Father. That’s where the refining comes in discussed in Malachi 3:2-3. Just as God refines us, we have a duty (and privilege, tho’ it sometimes does not seem like a privilege) to refine our children. Refining is not fun, for either the refiner or the refinee, but it is necessary. God said of the Master Refiner, “Who can endure his coming?” The refiner’s task is to burn off the dross (waste or impure matter), and the refiner knows the task is complete when his image is perfectly reflected in the metal. If he either stops too soon or burns too long, the purity of the metal is compromised
Not only do we have a part in refining little hellions into godly offspring, we have a part in our own refining. We can accept it as part of God’s plan or we can “kick against the pricks” (as God told Saul at his conversion). If we want our children to be godly offspring, then we must become godly offspring. This is a difficult learning process, but our growth is crucial for their growth. Someone once said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” As Jesus becomes more reflected in our lives, we, and thus Jesus, will become more reflected in our children’s lives.
This is not an easy task, and it’s hard to refine while you’re being refined. It is easy for Satan to use the refining process to discourage and frustrate us; then, like the people in Malachi’s day, we start to doubt God - His love, His justice, His ability or desire to intervene, etc. However, as James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have it final result that you maybe perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The only way we can have this attitude is by our faith and trust in the fact that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). Paul also tells us in 1 Cor. 9:12 that he endures all things lest he hinder the gospel of Christ.
“Hellion” - an antonym of “godly offspring”? I think not. They can be and usually are one and the same - it merely depends on how you look at them. Check out the call of Gideon in Judges 6:11-15. God sees us as we will become, not as we are. Thank Him for that. Let’s do the same for our kids. . . for a hellion is simply godly offspring in the refining process.
© 2007 Jeff Coble All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
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