The probing question in chapter one of my mom’s book, Parenting with Wisdom (formerly titled Teaching Children Precept upon Precept), is “What distinguishes a godly Christian parent any other parent?”
It’s a good question. I’ve known a number of excellent mothers who were unsaved. Their children were respectful, obedient, modestly dressed. It isn’t spanking, going to church, or teaching children the Bible. Rather, the primary distinguishing factor is (or should be) one’s motivation: to bring God glory (I Corinthians 10:31). I’ve been thinking about this.
Yesterday, we were meeting a friend for lunch, and I was running late. So I called her to tell her we’d be about fifteen minutes after we had agreed to meet. David asked, “Are we going to be late?” The teacher in me wanted to take the opportunity to explain some etiquette. I started telling him that it is polite to call someone when you are going to be late. Then I stopped and considered, “Am I just being like a secular mom teaching her child how to be polite?” That was a convicting thought! So then I explained that mommy did not glorify God because she selfishly wasted time in the morning and wanted to catch up on the dishes. I explained that we are often late when we selfishly think our time is more important than someone else’s time (one of the verses we talk about is “Let each esteem others better than himself”). Calling someone is important because it is thinking about the other person’s time, and not just our own.
Imagine how much I would have missed had I settled for “It’s not polite to…”!