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The Enduring Parent
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Do your children or teens call you a hypocrite after you say something big that they do not want to hear? How can you deal with it and raise them in upright standards of morality when you yourself may not be as morally perfect as you want them to be? Is there a way to raise children properly when you are a "hypocrite"? We feel that we are hypocrites wrongly many times, which will be explained first, then the true reason why we call ourselves "hypocrites" will be revealed.
The answer is actually very simple: look to the Bible. It is well known that Jesus called the Pharisees of his day "hypocrites", which may be part of the reason why this has become so difficult to deal with. However, what else did Jesus say about them?
One example of Jesus calling the Pharisees hypocrites is Matthew 23. Verse 13 says "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!" (NIV). What does the context say?
Let us start from the beginning. Verse 1 of the chapter begins:
1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
This is your justification for teaching and rule-making. You sit in Moses' seat, trying to reveal and enforce what you believe is God's will for your family. But wait! There is more. Look back to the context of verse 13. The full verse reads:
13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
This is your mission statement. Some of us are just like Jesus described, and will say things like, "Do not read your Bible.", or "Stop praying over your food.", or "Stop talking about Jesus so much.". Those who do such things are in need of heaven just as much as the Pharisees were, for Jesus said of them "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20). Paul motions to you in Acts 13:32-33, "We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: 'You are my son; today I have become your father.'" Some of us try outwardly, but not inwardly, and thoseof us who do need to realize that the LORD is watching us, not society. "But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay." (Acts 13:37).
Many of us do not try to shut the kingdom of heaven in our child's face at all. You yourself are in the process of trying to enter, and you want to bring them with you. You are not like the Pharisees. When this happens, which if you yourself are a believer, it may, then tell them about your true place. It is not just about the seat of Moses that you are concerned, but also God's love, which they may need explained to them, by telling them how His system of justice works. He works by punishing those who need it at the moment in order to learn from their mistakes against His rules and expectations. If they do not learn, they may be punished again, depending on whether or not He thinks they should be punished now, or in Hell. If He punishes us a second time, He sometimes gives us a second chance to explain ourselves and change His judgment (see Genesis 3:13).
A great number of us, however, are completely unaware of the kingdom of heaven, and resist trying to enter, in both ourselves and our children. When you say things like "Do not read your Bible.", or "Stop praying over your food.", or "Stop talking about Jesus so much.", and then give them rules to follow of your own traditions or imaginations, you are shutting the kingdom of heaven in your child's face. You are a Pharisee. You must accept that Jesus lived and died as a human being, and was not just a good person, and was not just an avatar, and was not just a prophet, and he was not just an imposter, and was not just a dead man, he was the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (and he is still alive himself), and no one comes to the Father except alongside him.
When a child calls their parents "hypocrites", it leads to a disorderly house that is out of alignment with God's will. Therefore, we must gently reveal that the label they use has no bearing. It is not who you are. For some though, it may take more than a motivational speech to convince us that our own children were wrong about us when they made us feel guilty at heart. They are right, but they are also wrong. You should not let them get to you in such a way that you sit there and take abuse. Go before your true Judge, and repent!
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