I was discussing freedom in Christ with some close friends a few weeks ago and one of them, a friend who was brought up in one of the most strictly hierarchical homes I know of, wrote this:
“We are all equals…
Even our children.
I am not their ruler, their owner, their master;
they are not my subjects or slaves.
They are people! They have their own hearts, their own minds, and their own souls!
They will all live their own individual lives, as we all do.
We are not each other’s property, or subjects, or anyone’s ruler.
We are equal.
We have to learn to respect this, or we abuse power that is not our own.”
YES! AMEN! Once we experience the freedom Christ brought us when He broke the curse of sin and pain, we look all around and look for other people to share His joy and equality with. And where better than in our own homes, with our own families?
Once we stop thinking of the family in terms of military or organizational hierarchy, once we realize that each person in the family is responsible for his or her own relationship with Jesus, we can see that children also are on their own journey with Him.
We can guide them. We can model joy and peace in Christ for them. We definitely must, according to the Bible, talk with them day in and day out about Who God is. We encourage them in Lord and build them up.
We are responsible for how we treat them and help them just as we are responsible for how we treat all the Little Ones.
But our focus is on their hearts. Not their outward behavior but on their inward experience of Jesus and His love.
Parents who believe in hierarchies can most certainly reach for the hearts of their children rather than focus on behavioral modification. Absolutely. I have many friends who do. Brian and I did before we had our paradigm shift.
But I think that it becomes easier to come alongside a child, rather than stand above him or her, when we see clearly that our children are next to us as we stand before Jesus, rather than on a lower level of a hierarchy.
Each child is not just My Child – but also my sister, my brother in Christ.