What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).
Think about it this way. What if there was division in the Trinity? What if the Father, Son, and Spirit were angry with each other? If it were true, we would not stand a chance of being loved well or protected. Mercifully, we do not have to worry about whether the Godhead will stay together or if they are going to get into a yelling match. Have you ever worried that way about them?
I suspect it has never crossed your mind, or if it did, it was a fleeting thought that you immediately shrugged off as impossible. God’s children do not worry about the stability of the Godhead, and your kids should not have to worry about the stability of your marriage. You should not put that kind of burden on them. When your children think about your marriage, they should immediately think about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the other manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Suppose your children are more aware of the hostility, unforgiveness, and general disunity in your marriage. In that case, their hearts will be motivated to gravitate toward more stable and secure things—from their immature perspective. Everybody wants security; nobody likes instability. When I was a teen, I found my stability through my ability to perform well at my job. My work gave me the things I craved, things my parents would not give me because of their unwillingness to love each other well.
Security, approval, acceptance, and a sense of accomplishment were mine to have as long as I could perform for my employer. And I did. My work was my refuge. My home was a chaotic context for disunity. Homelife was something to endure, while my job experience was a pleasurable escape. This course of action is natural for teenagers who live in chaotic homes. Their hearts begin to drift to something they can control—to something that will not disappoint them. All of us have a desire to look for love. Too often, we find this love in the wrong places.
I suspect some parents could read this and think they are the cause of their children rejecting the Lord. Other parents could believe their children will follow Jesus because they are good parents. Both opinions are wrong.
Good parents do not make Christians, and neither do bad parents. A Christian is made a Christian because of the gospel, and the gospel comes to individuals because of the Lord’s unmerited favor (Ephesians 2:8-9). Do not fall into the trap of, “What have I done to my children?”
But you must give biblical reflection to, “What have I done to my kids,” especially if your marriage is not a good representation of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:25). Two ditches exist here, and you do not want to fall into either one of them. The self-righteous person will think their works matter. The arrogant individual will presume on the grace of God (Psalm 19:13).
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).