There’s a fascinating balance that we find in Scripture.
On one hand, we learn about self-sacrificial love from Jesus Christ. In fact, this is the way we can begin to fathom God’s definition of love. Jesus gave us an example, that we should love others. On the other hand, we recognize that it’s a bad idea to teach our children that their parents exist for little other reason but to serve them night and day. Love doesn’t demand that others serve me, and catering to a child’s every whim certainly cultivates this attitude.
So then, how can we discern whether our sacrifices for our children are genuine Christian love, or which are unwise and harmful?
I’ve been thinking about some examples I’ve wrestled with personally:
- Getting ice water for our children at the table (after we’ve begun eating)
- Cleaning their rooms with them or for them
- Purchasing 2 dolly strollers (instead of one)
- Giving up my professional goals to homeschool my children
- Giving up time with my husband so my children can play with him.
- Not making my children’s hated foods for dinner, or allowing them to eat something else.
- Taking my children to AWANA/ driving to a Christian friend’s house for a playdate (using precious gas and time)
- Spending money for horseback riding lessons
- Allowing a lizard in the house. Crickets that escape. Allowing a dog to become a part of the family.
- Encouraging our children to participate in sports.
I’m sure you can add a bunch of your own. We need wisdom, don’t we? You might answer to some of the bulleted items, “It depends.” I agree, but I’m still wondering, what biblical principles can we use, then, to decide? How do we avoid erring to one extreme or the other? I think this will be fun to think about.