I know I’m not a parent, but I am a child. And not only a child of my earthly parents, but a child of God. I know what it is to be parented well and I know what it is to be parented poorly. And either way it is an ever increasing lesson to learn to be parented—even for parents and grandparents and uncles and presidents and brides and CEOs and beggers and choosers. This is an important read, I think, for all who are parents and all who are children (which is all of us).
Here’s an excerpt, though I encourage you to read the whole thing:
The fundamental right thing is to see the relationships rightly, to understand what is going on. What is your relationship to God, and how can you mimic that in your relationship with your children? Therefore be imitators of God, Paul says, as dearly loved children (Eph. 5:1). We are to be children to God, and this will help us understand how our children are to be children to us. We are to learn the nature of all our authoritative relationships by imitation.
So if you look at the sweep of redemptive history, you see that our story begins in a garden, and it ends in a garden city. Our task as forgiven sinners (who have been given access back to the tree of life) is therefore — through the gospel — to rebuild Eden. You are called, fathers and mothers, to rebuild little Edens in your homes, only better. This cannot be done apart from worship, obviously, but you need to make sure you bring a coal from the altar back to your home every week.
So what was Eden like? Here are just a few initial thoughts. They are only initial thoughts — I have discovered that going back to the first chapters of Genesis is a process that repays us with new glories every time we do it.
First, don’t go into it thinking that God is looking for opportunities to crush you. If He were doing that, you would already be flat. The ways you are failing your children (in ways we will shortly discuss) are not ways in which God is failing you. And when you fail, He does not respond to your failures the same way you tend to respond to those who fail you.
(For those of you who are kicking and screaming and getting your panties in a general twist because I just sent you over to Doug Wilson’s site, if you could for one minute breathe and in the second minute think of the title and content of this, I’d think it would go a bit better for you. We plant gardens of grace first in our own hearts and minds and those gardens begin from small seeds.)