Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My kids will likely need therapy...

Week 27:

Genesis 4:1-17; 25-26 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.  Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”  Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”  While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.  Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”  “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”  13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”  15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.  17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.  25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.  At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.
We recently took a vacation with our kids that was the most days and longest distance we have ever taken.  We drove…2500 miles…five of us together for eight days.  Many can relate to this type of trip.  When there are five family members together in that type of situation for very long, conflict is inevitable.  I know that as we reflect back on this trip, even this close to its end, we will have nothing but fond memories.  However, during those times where somebody was on somebody else’s nerves, I began to realize that my kids are likely going to need therapy at some point in their lives…and it is because of me.

My wife and I have been intentional in raising our kids.  They have known nothing but a Church life.  We have limited what they can view on TV and listen to music wise.  I work at a Christian School and my kids have known nothing but a Christian education.  We have prayed for them and with them.  We really have put a lot of effort into being involved in our kid’s lives at the same time, giving them some space.  Even after all that effort, I know that I personally have missed some things.  I have projected my wounds, my faults, my emotional imbalance, etc. onto my kids. 

One thing I have said many times is that no one hands new parents a manual on how to raise children the day that child is born.  And, truthfully, there is very little about raising children in the Bible.  There are some general thoughts and words around how you show God to our children, but so much is left out.  My wife and I have done the best we can to apply the Psalms, Proverbs, human stories of Biblical characters where ever and whenever we could. 

So, why did I choose this passage for this article?  Because the first recorded parent didn’t necessarily get it right either.  Adam and Eve had direct access to God.  Yet, Cain still killed Abel.  In fact, God talked directly to Cain prior to his act and still Cain followed through.  There are other examples of kids as well…David, Aaron, Eli. 

I don’t want to give myself a pass here, but I take comfort in knowing I am not alone in my mistakes in raising my kids.  Overall, they are good kids.  They follow God, or strive to anyway.  However, they will need help and guidance emotionally from someone else at some point in life.  I realize that fact, accept that fact, and hope that when they look back on life, they realize I did the best I knew how.  I hope they are aware of the fall of humankind beginning in the Garden of Eden.  I hope that they see that although we are responsible for ourselves and our choices; there is something not quite right in this world until Jesus returns to make all things new.  That is the hope I have to rest in when I look at what I have done with my kids.


1.      As a parent, how has this landed with you?
2.      If you are not a parent, what can you draw from this as you reflect on your parents?
3.      What action is God calling you to do from what you have read today?
4.      What conversation do you need to have with your kids/parents?
5.      Pay attention to what God is asking you to do around this this week.  Is it to forgive, make amends, have a conversation, explain, and/or ask forgiveness of someone?  Take action.

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