Galatians 4:21 – Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?
God has laws and principles that we should live by, and which parents should raise their kids by, but oftentimes we as parents add our own laws on top of God’s laws. We often hold our children to these extra standards of perfection, one that they can’t sustain. But there’s a difference between God’s laws and our rules.
In a law-based home, parents add to God’s laws. In a grace-based home, God has laws, but parents have rules. This is really important.
God has laws and Christian parents want to teach their kids to obey God’s laws. In addition to those laws, parents do have some rules. “Take your shoes off when you come in the house”, “You gotta go to bed”, “You have to do your homework”, “I know the Bible doesn’t say anything about how to treat a dog, but don’t do that to the dog”. All of that is ok. You have to make some rules as well as teaching your kids about God’s laws.
However, the problem comes in a law-based environment when parents will take God’s Word, add in their own rules, and then put their gravity and seriousness together. And sometimes, they’ll misquote the Bible and weaponize it, and it confuses the kids.
Some of you grew up in religious households where your parents had a lot of rules and told you “It’s what God said to do.” And then you get older, read the Bible for yourself, and have a lot of mistrust in your parents when you realize that’s not what the Bible says. As Proverbs 35:6 says, “Don’t add to God’s word,” and that goes for parents trying to parent their kids as well.
That doesn’t mean parents don’t have the authority and they can’t make rules. But it’s really important to distinguish between God’s laws and your own rules and not to confuse the two, because the child may grow up and see nothing but control, religious hypocrisy, and manipulation from their parents, and they will hate the Bible. You don’t want them to hate the Bible, you want them to love the Bible, and in order to raise kids that love the Bible, you need to be honest about the differences between God’s laws and our rules.
What are some rules that either your parents or you as a parent have tried to add to God’s laws?
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