We recently experienced the arrival of our third daughter and the process from conception to the actual birthing event is quite strenuous. The experience has had me thinking more and more about the new life God has entrusted to our care and the value of all life. Having children is not for everyone, but for those who have them and wish to raise them well, it is both a calling and a responsibility.
You may have heard the saying, “children are a gift from the Lord;” if you have children, you may even feel like that statement is true whenever the kids are properly behaving themselves. In reality, children are much more than a gift…they are a miracle.
New life is created and with it come the responsibilities of raising a person to be a fully-functioning member of society. If you are a Christian, you have the additional responsibility of doing what you can to teach the child to love God and others as oneself.
Christians see value in human life because God is the author of life and all God created was good. However, because we now live in a world tainted with sin, our understanding of the value of life has been broken. We no longer see life for what it is–an opportunity to share in God’s blessings. Instead, we toil through pain and strife to find peace and goodness.
Christians have a responsibility of sharing the Kingdom of God with the world. In order to share God’s Kingdom, they must first understand God’s Kingdom. It is a kingdom of peace, light, joy, beauty, truth, and honor. It is a kingdom of where right is distinguished from wrong, where good is distinguished from evil. It is a place where God is glorified in his righteousness and where people share in his rich blessings.
Parents must be willing to go through the process of raising their children to see beauty in ugliness, goodness in tragedy, joy in sorrow, and equipping them to chase their dreams, face their fears, and to strive for their goals. We must protect them from evil but we must allow them to make their own choices. We must also allow them to realize or face the consequences of their decisions. We must teach them to be at peace with all people, but to stand up for themselves and their beliefs when others want to challenge them. We must help our children experience new things like riding a bike, swimming, and tasting snow, but we must also let them see that pain accompanies pleasures when knees are scraped or when they eat the snow too quickly and get a cold headache.
The things parents do for their children, the sacrifices they make, the experiences they share, the conversations they have, they all point to seeing value in life. Every little thing we do has consequence and the way we handle each situation directs the paths of our lives and relationships. We all desire to be significant and because life is from God, all of life is significant. Everything matters: how we talk, how we act, how we think, how we feel, and what we eat.
It is difficult to see the intrinsic value in every person we meet, or at least to consciously keep ourselves aware of it. We must remember that all people are a miracle, that all are here because God chose to share his creation with them, whether they recognize him or not. Children remind us that life comes from the Lord, that he sustains us, and that each new day is a gift. How do you see others? How do you see your children?
Below are two of my favorite songs about being a parent and preparing to raise children. I posted the videos with the lyrics. Listen and enjoy.
Plumb: In My Arms
Creed: With Arms Wide Open
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)