Tag: children

Two Words For Trump-Loving America

Words have power, and critical times call for a raw honesty that truly captures the emergency and urgency of the moment. Not primarily for the purpose of change, though there’s always hope, but rather for the integrity of the soul. For to not speak and to not speak fully, is to surrender with spineless capitulations of support.

In fact, it doesn’t matter if you are listening or not, or whether you care or not. What matters is that it’s spoken, that you’re pushed to the wall with unvarnished truth. After that, it’s on you. History will record your verse.

Sadly, chances are, your neighbor isn’t willing to say it.

Your friends probably aren’t willing to say it.

And certainly, your pastor won’t say it. 

 

But, I’ll say it.

In fact, I can hear Jesus screaming it.

 

So, listen carefully… 

Two words…

 

F*ck you.

That’s right, f*ck you.

F*ck you for highjacking Jesus and making Him the hood ornament of your world bulldozer while rationalizing every kind of evil in your efforts to cleanse the world of people different from you. F*ck you for embracing so much denial and personal greed that you can’t see the pus-oozing tumor of your white privilege protruding from your heart, nor your addiction to its stench. F*ck you for believing this country is about you, your prosperity, your exclusive brand of believing, and that Jesus backs your nationalistic, abusive ingrown narcissism and gaslighting. 

F*ck you for kneeling before your idols of guns, white supremacy, and Christian conservatism while children fear being murdered at school, minorities live in terror, and violence overtakes our streets. F*ck you for your “thoughts and prayers” vomited from the black hole of your callousness as good people suffer, often at the feet of your evil corruption. F*ck you for your hypocritical attempts at dictating how people protest, love, live, and speak, in hopes that your narrative will overpower and control us. 

F*ck you for your so-called “mission” trips that ultimately serve to put a spiritual notch on your belt while you allow the very same people that you brag about reaching “for Christ” to be put in cages and refused safe harbor. F*ck you for raping our environment as you build a world purposed on paying for the expenses of your insatiable greed. F*ck you for your constant blaming of Hillary, Obama, progressives, and “fake news” while the President you worship preys upon your willingness to turn a blind eye to all that is detestable and demonic if it puts money in your pocket, gives you power over people, and preserves your white, male, heterosexual privilege. 

F*ck you for being such a selfish person that your hate and fear of the fruition of true equality for all has become so strong that you are willing to attack every and any socialistic idea and the people who hold them, demonize and abuse minorities and immigrants, and limit healthcare, education, and liveable wages for all.

F*ck you for rationalizing lies, supporting in Trump the very same things you hated in Obama, and waving your “libetards” flags at everything that doesn’t jump in your bed and let you grab their pussies with your diabolical desires to cleanse the world of all that is different and in disagreement with you.

F*ck you for trying to convince us that, for you, it’s all about making immigration “legal” while you chant “send her back” to a brown-skinned, female, legal citizen and Congresswoman of the United States of America who isn’t politically loyal to you.  

F*ck you for trying to rape America into a country where it’s patriotic to declare that people “should leave” who have strong disagreements with your exclusive political ideologies in order to “make room” for people who will declare their allegiance to your brand of thinking and believing.  

F*ck you for arrogantly declaring the divine importance and inerrancy of the “clear teachings” of the Bible that seem to support your desires for power and privilege, yet conveniently ignoring the countless Biblical admonitions on immigration, foreigners, and refugees—all while you pledge your “Christian” support to a President who aspires to rewrite the United States Constitution by removing birthright citizenship. 

We know that to you who are privileged, the emergence of true equality always feels like war.

We know that Christianity has long been the preferred and hijacked religion of white, male privilege and many have waged numerous battles to protect and foster your spiritually contrived elitism. 

We know that racism, sexism, nationalism, homophobia, xenophobia, colonialism, and capitalism have become important, coveted weapons in your fight.

We know that what is now playing out before us on our national stage is merely the deep seated, elitist infection within much of white, Christian America being stoked with fear and given the freedom to surface and fully ooze its pus.

We know that when it’s all said and done and the truth is revealed, what you really fear is Jesus and the increase of His Kingdom on earth, especially in America.

So, f*ck you for not seeing it too, and hoping we all become as blind, selfish, and gullible as you.

And to the rest who sit in silence, twiddling your thumbs as you weigh the risks of taking a stand, f*ck you. F*ck you for not choosing a side, for trying to pass off your self-serving cowardice as some kind of righteous path of peace while innocent people suffer and die in the wake of your pompous passiveness.

Not to mention, f*ck you for your cold porcelain heart that, by now, has surely turned its pretentious nose up at my use of the word, “f*ck,” but gladly guzzles down fascism from whatever leader will pour more power and privilege into your cup.

There is no more time for “shame on you,” “wake up,” or “pretty please.”

So with all due love and respect…

Two words…

F*ck you.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

Conservative Christian, When Is Enough, Enough?

You say that you love Jesus. 

You posture yourself to be a divinely sanctioned dispenser and guardian of Godly morality. 

You want to convince the world that your brand of faith is the only way, truth, and life. 

Yet, with all due respect and love, from where I sit, there seems to be no line of integrity you aren’t willing to cross, no fact you aren’t willing to overlook, and no example and mandate of Jesus you aren’t willing to dismiss.

I want to believe otherwise, but when I put two eyeballs upon what’s in front of me, I find it increasingly hard not to believe that you have, in fact, become a force in opposition to the Kingdom instead a bearer of it. Perhaps, you don’t realize the evil in which you participate nor the diabolical system of faith to which you subscribe. I keep hoping to hear your fierce denouncements of what conservative Christianity has largely become–spiritually, morally, and politically. Yet, much of what I experience from you feels like a calculated silence coupled with a callous ambivalence, as if all you care about is religious power and privilege.

I can understand succumbing to the seductive deceptions of Christian conservatism, for I too  was once held captive by the tractor beams of the conservative Evangelical Death Star. Yet, how much revelation is it going to take before the religious scales fall from your eyes? 

I want that question to haunt you, to pound at the doors of your soul. 

Please help me understand, I’m genuinely perplexed, when is enough, enough?

The word “salvation” in your Bible is the Greek word, “sozo.” It actually means, “to bring wholeness to the entire person.” Sadly, it seems that your faith system has twisted and raped this beautiful word and conveniently fabricated it into a singular issue of hell and heaven. Yet, Jesus created it to be so much more and nothing of the eternity you have carefully imagined. 

Instead, His “wholeness” is about the removal of condemnation, guilt, and shame, not the piling on of it. It’s about the equality of all humanity, not the discrimination and demonizing of it. It’s about peace with God, others, and creation, not fear, violence, and abuse. It’s about the complete ”wholeness” of all with all, not separation, imperialism, greed, and conquest. 

In fact, Jesus purposed this “wholeness” for everyone, not just you or me, and not just for some distant future reality. Instead, this “salvation” is for anyone and everyone–today, tomorrow, and forever. It’s a cosmic manifestation secured for all by Jesus, unconditionally. So much, that when religious people pridefully tried to make their “belief” a determining factor in who experiences this “wholeness” and who does not, Jesus said things like, “And if any man hears my words, and believes not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” 

See, now THIS is the Gospel of Jesus–wholeness for the entire person for every person: right here, right now, unconditionally and irrevocably, welling up into eternal life.  

Yet tragically, it appears you are bringing far more brokenness into the world than you are “wholeness.” You manifest the poison, not the cure; a prison, not salvation. In fact, truth be told, at the hands of your conservative Christianity, the American dream is, in reality, the American scheme. Heaven for you, and hell for everyone else. 

The proof is in the fruit.

I mean, do you really believe that whole raping and pillaging thing by conservative Christian settlers was Jesus’ best idea as to how to bring “wholeness” into the lives of the American Indian? 

Do you really expect me to bite the conservative Evangelical apple and believe that whole lynching, abusing, and enslaving thing that was inspired, supported, and justified by much of conservative Christianity, was Jesus’ best idea as to how to bring “wholeness” into the lives of black people?

Truthfully, how in the world can you even begin to imagine that your brutal condemnation of the LGBTQ community is bringing any level of “wholeness” into their humanity? I mean, do you really think your discrimination against women, minorities, and the vulnerable is the “wholeness” Jesus has in mind? How about desperate children and families seeking asylum? Perhaps you have mistaken the “wholeness” that Jesus admonishes us to manifest for the inhumane hell your system of faith often embodies. 

With all honesty, I’m struggling to understand, because it seems to be all too clear that your understanding of the Gospel and the way of Jesus is salvation for you and enslavement for everyone else.

When is enough, enough?

Will it be the day your gay or transgender child commits suicide after refusing to live a life on the receiving end of your relentless rejection and condemnation? 

Is that enough?

Will it be when your faith is finally persuaded by the person of Jesus and not the allure of political power, your lordship over people, or the fallible pages of an ancient book?

Is that enough?

Will it be when your honesty forces you in front of the mirror where you can’t escape the truth that your conservative Christian faith hasn’t made you a better person, but only a more judging, hypocritical, restless, fearful, and loveless one whose only improvement has come in learning to fake it? 

When is enough, enough?

How many lies must President Trump tell? How many women must he sexually assault? How many racists comments must he make? Give me a number.

How many children must die in cages at our border? How many false equivalencies and hypocrisies must be rationalized?  How many actions, attitudes, and examples that are clearly contrary to the person of Jesus must be put on display? How many laws, constitutional foundations, and freedoms must be forsaken? To what level must the least-of-these be exploited and even erased?

How much white supremacy, bigotry, sexism, greed, and hate must be welcomed and adopted by your conservative Christian faith?

When is enough, enough?

To wake up your soul, to resurrect your conscience, to enlighten your mind, to release your love, to ignite your rage, and to free your life?

When is enough, enough?

I pray, before it’s too late.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

Parenting from Grace- A true Story

The Gospel of God’s Grace is practical to all of life. Its impact changes everything, placing a new foundation under our feet from which to live.

God teaches in His word that we are renewed in our minds.  The Gospel changes our thinking and believing, and therefore our actions.

Yet, where the practical nature of the Gospel may seem easy to render into certain aspects of our lives, “parenting” seems to be an area where we wonder how to apply the Gospel of God’s Grace.  How do we handle issues in our children’s lives like sin, discipline, correction, consequences etc.  Can we trust Grace to truly work when for so long we have trusted so many other parenting approaches?

Before we get into these parenting issues through a true life story of parenting from Grace, it’s valuable to make sure we set forth some foundational things about the Gospel of Grace that will apply to our parenting.

1- Grace is not a license to sin.  Properly used, Grace will not teach nor encourage our children to misbehave, rebel, or choose to sin.

2- Grace does not necessarily remove consequences.  Not all consequences are punishment.  Furthermore, “reaping and sowing” is a principal that has application within the life we live under Grace and the New Covenant.

With that in mind…

A True Story

Our son Harrison is 14 years old and truly an awesome you man who loves Jesus and values so many good things in life. He is wise, caring, fun loving, mature, and passionate.  Not to mention, extremely smart and a beast on the soccer field. He is my pride ad joy, and we have been joined at the heart since birth.

As with any child, despite how awesome they are, each has their own quirks and areas of challenge.

For Harrison, his greatest parenting challenge has been to learn to communicate his feelings of disagreement, frustration, or anger without down spiraling into a huge temper tantrum, argument, or meltdown.  Over the years, this has been a repeated theme that at times can get very dramatic, to say the least.

I must admit, as a father, I have not always done a good job at setting the right example as my own temper gets caught in the mix as my frustration level over flows in a boil during these episodes.

Yet, since Harrison was much younger, we have struggled to find a way to turn this behavior around and set a new course.  Unfortunately, with little, lasting success. I don’t blame Harrison so much for his struggle through this issue, but much more myself for a lack of knowledge of the Gospel of God’s Grace and trusting it enough to apply it in my parenting.

However, I am so glad to be able to share with you that now there is much good news as things have taken a one-eighty turn around with Harrison and this temper kind of issue.

So, what has changed? What has made the difference?

Let me explain.

Up until recently, our main parenting strategy with Harrison and his temper issue has been one of rule-keeping, fear, and punishment as we address the behavior in our attempt to correct the behavior.  Each time, there would be a temporary compliance from Harrison, only to result in a reoccurring of the same behavior later.  After a period of negotiation and trying to defuse this situations, even the more harsh punishments that registered as being a very unwelcomed consequence to Harrison did little to curb the behavior in the long-run.  From taking away privileges to adding on huge inconveniences and stresses, nothing worked to result in true lasting change. In fact, not long ago, I established a written covenant of behavior expectations along with agreed-upon consequences should the covenant be violated. There were even agreed-upon expectations that applied to both Harrison and Amy and I as parents.  We all signed it and felt good about it. Yet again, it did not work for very long.

I think for most parents, to some degree or another, the main strategy of behavior modification in our children is ultimately through rules, fear, and punishment, all under the umbrella and foundation of love and loving discipline.  Like you, our heart is to teach our children right from wrong and to instill in them the values and character that will serve to bless and prosper their lives. To be sure, that seems like the standard mode of operation that Christian parents should be doing.

Yet, the way God parents us through the Gospel of Grace has some real wisdom for how best to parent our children. We live under a new covenant of Grace and so should our parenting.

This was the revelation that set my strategy with Harrison in a totally different direction. If God trusts Grace to work in parenting me, I should be able to trust Grace to work in the parenting of my son.

First, I realized if I parented Harrison (particularly his behavior problem) from a spirit of the Law, I should not be surprised when his disobedience increased instead of decreased.  This is the dramatic limit of the Law we find in scripture. It does a great job of pointing out what we can’t do, where the more we try, the more we are actually enticed to break it and fall short. It does nothing to making our behaviors truly better, but actually does everything to make them worse. God used the Law to introduce the power  and need of Grace. The old covenant based on man’s performance and rule-keeping that never worked,  led to a new covenant based on the performance of Jesus to destroy sin and death that worked perfectly.  The Law shows us we need Grace. Grace shows us the Law doesn’t work. God never intended nor designed the Law to be the solution, but rather Grace.

Second, I realized that all my emphasis on rule-keeping, fear, and punishment, though well-intentioned from a heart of love, was actually doing more to imprison Harrison to his rebellion instead of freeing him. In fact, the covenant we established with Harrison (mentioned earlier) was in fact a covenant of the Law, not Grace. No wonder why he couldn’t follow it, nor would it work to change behavior.

Third, I realized that I needed to trust Grace to change disobedience and to be the guiding influence to steer our children away from sin towards living rightly. Contrary to much of what we are taught about how to live the Christian life and help others to do the same, people governed by Grace are the most free and faithful of all. They sin less, not more.

Fourth, I realized I needed to speak from Grace to Harrison’s new-creation identity, not his rebellious behaviors. An obedience problem is always first and identity problem. Harrison needed to know who he is so he could see how his behaviors were foreign to himself, and not a reflection of his true nature and identity.

If all Harrison believed about himself is that he was a temperamental teenager unable to control his emotions and always prone to losing control as evidenced by his failures to live up to the rules, then  guess what Harrison would continue to do? Yup, keep misbehaving over and over, and over again.

So, here’s what I did.

After another long, meltdown episode of shouting, after I threatened to end his soccer season, I stopped myself, stepped up to the cliff side of Grace and took a step of faith. I went to the refrigerator door upon which our covenant of behavior was placed, took it down and in front of Harrison, I ripped it up. I told him that I would not remove him from the soccer team, I believed in who He was in Christ, gave him the details of how he has everything already within him to handle these situations much better, and that I trusted that from then on, he would carry himself differently when moments of potential temper flares presented themself. “You realize Harrison, all of these battles we have from time to time are not who you are, and that loss of temper and control of your emotions is completely foreign to the young man you are, newly created by Christ?” “You are not a young man of dishonor and disrespect for your parents”  “I love you and believe in you, and know that you will be able to navigate these moments better in the future.” “No son, there is no punishment tonight.” I hugged him and walked away.

He was speechless, and then proceeded to his room.  After several minutes, I walked up to check on him. He seemed very sad.

“You did hear what I said, right? You have your soccer season back.”

“Dad, that’s not what I want anymore, our relationship is more important. I was wrong, and have been disrespecting and dishonoring you and mom.” “You are right, that’s not who I am, I see it, and I believe it.”

“Well Harrison, lets close this chapter, I know things will never be like they have been again. You know who you are, and what you have in Him.”

As I walked back downstairs, Amy asked (not being around for the whole covenant-ripping and talk thing with Harrison), “What happened?” “What did you do about all this?”

I replied, “It’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance.”

Grace can, where everything else can’t.

Since then, we have had not one single episode. Even, when there was every opportunity to do so.

The Big Take Aways

So what are the potential take aways for you as a parent to apply to your parenting?

1- I spoke to his identity first, not his behavior. Grace teaches us who we truly are because of what Jesus has done to us. As we believe in our righteousness in Christ (and a whole lot more), we will live it. Right believing leads to right living. Behind everything we do wrong is a wrong belief about ourselves and/or God. The same is true with our children.

2- I influenced heart-change through kindness, not harshness and punishment. Punishment never made anyone Holy, nor will it do so for your children. Jesus took our children’s punishment for sin and brokeness. Consequences are not always punishment. When our daughter Cailyn has to spend her time cleaning her room when she left it a mess instead of getting to go outside or play on the ipad, that’s not punishment, it’s consequences. If I yell and scream at her, telling her what a slob she is and take away her dinner from her too, that’s condemnation, shame, and punishment. I can correct my child with our condemning them, and give meaningful, firm consequences without punishing them. Punishment yields temporary obedience out of fear. Consequences yield obedience out of learning that irresponsible and bad actions have consequences that remove pleasure and self-inflict pain.

3- I trusted Grace to manage his behavior, not rule-keeping and fear. The Bible teaches that it is the Grace of God that teaches us to live rightly. If God trusts that to work with me and manage my life, I trust it to work for my children. I know that a spirit of rule-keeping and fear doesn’t work in my life, people’s lives, and my children. However, Grace does. It is the only thing that has changed me and my behaviors, it governs me into freedom and faithfulness where everything else just led me deeper into the prison of my own flesh.

4- I communicated confidence in who he is in Christ to help him have confidence, not condemnation. If Harrison bases his identity and sense of self from his performance as a person, he will be all over the map internally and therefore, externally. Condemnation is the root of so many bad things coming out of people’s lives and living.  Show our children who they are in Christ, and they will be able to determine the foreign nature of sin to their lives on their own without us having to ride them with shouting, fear, and punishment hanging over their heads.

5- There are still consequences given in our parenting, but they are from a foundation of Grace, not Law. They are based on teaching the reality of reaping and sowing in life, not punishment, condemnation, guilt, shame, and fear.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts…

Back to School God’s Way

As one of my friends on facebook posted, “Where has the summer gone?”  Yup, the new school year is upon us. And, if you are like me and most parents, this is a super stressful time for the whole family.  Supplies to buy, schedules to arrange, clothes to try on, orientations to attend, doctors appointments to schedule, and then to top it off, there is a ton of “change” to manage. “Will I make new friends?” “Wow, I am not sure I am ready for them to be growing up, and so fast” “Mom, I need to have _________, if I don’t I will be a nerd, and I just might hate your guts forever”

You know the routine, and could surely fill in your own back-to-school experiences. To be sure, it’s not easy reality to manage, anxiety levels are high, stress is growing, and the reality of change is not an easy pill to swallow.  So, how can we all manage this time of the year in ways that are sync with God?

Here are a few tips on riding the back-to-school wave with Grace.

1) Stay cool.

And by that I mean, don’t let this time of the year erode your sense of peace. In times of stress, it’s easy to get into a tailspin of short tempers, stress, and anxiety, often majoring in the minors, and minoring in the majors. Try to keep you perspective and rest in the reality that God is at work and will surely guide and provide your way through this stressful time. Your attitude towards “back-to-school” will set the temperature in your family for how everyone else handles it.  If you are calm, cool, and collected, chances are that will help minimize the overall stress level for the rest of the family. Remember, you are already perfect in Christ, you don’t have to perform perfectly nor does everything have to come together perfectly. Don’t miss the forest from the trees.  Enjoy this time, even the stress of it, one day, you will be wishing you could have these days back again.

2) Keep communication lines open and active.

“Back-to-school” is an important time to go above the call of duty to make sure everyone is talking, expressing, and communicating feelings and needs. Making sure to initiate conversations among family members will be critical. Repeatedly asking questions like, “So, how are you feeling about all this?” “Hey, is there anything we are forgetting?” “So, how are you handling things?” will be valuable tools before, during, and after the “back-to-school” whirlwind. So many negative situations can be prevented or diffused from becoming a problem if communication lines are open and active.

3) Speak out your faith for the new school year.

In addition to praying together, I think it’s incredibly valuable to speak out statements of faith over the “back-to-school” experience. When you and your family speak and hear declarations of faith, it releases God to work and uplifts everyone who hears them.  Statements like, “I believe this new year is going to be full of blessings and wonderful surprises from God” “Lord, I thank you that you have gifted my children with great minds that will excel in learning this year.”Jesus, I thank you in advance for working all things out for our good and your glory, covering my children with your protection and purposes” will have a supernatural effect on the “back-to-school” atmosphere of your family.   Asking your children, “What are you believing God for this new year in school?” is a great way to get things started.

4) Don’t get over-scheduled

There is a great temptation among American families to be over-scheduled with activities. And this is the time of the year when that destructive ball gets set into motion. Your value and worth as a parent and family is not in how many activities you are doing each week. You can have an after school event or activity scheduled for every day of the week for your children and completely miss out on the true essence and experience of family at the same time.  One of the worst mistakes we can make as parents is to raise performance-driven children who base their identities on the amount and level of their extra-curricular accomplishments.  Soccer, ballet, dance, football etc. are all great things for our children, as long as they are managed well.  Nothing can be more important than to teach our children how to prioritize their lives, placing faith, family, play, rest, and school at the top of the list.  Everyone has a plan for your children’s lives. Coaches, programs, sports, etc. are all craving the unrestrained and unrestricted time and commitment of your children. And trust me, they will take it all if you let them. The question is, “Are you going to teach your children when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to all the things soliciting their time, in ways that keep the main things in life the main thing?”

So, what would you add to this list?

Parenting to Win

Psalm 127:4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.

Our children and our parenting were born into a war, not a vacation.  There is a real battle going on for the hearts and lives of our children and our families.  Unfortunately, many parents have either surrendered their children and their homes by outsourcing their parenting to teachers, coaches, friends, and youth groups, or they are battling with their children more than for their children. As Charles Swindoll says, “Schools, youth groups, teachers, coaches, and after school programs can’t resurrect in a child what is being put to death in the home” Furthermore, Satan loves to keep parents preoccupied with fighting with their children so as to distract and prevent them from fighting for their children.

Fathers honoring their leading role in the home with maturity, integrity, wisdom and strength is no longer lifted up in our culture, but rather mocked by figures like Homer Simpson and Ozzy Osbourne, sending mothers into a confused tailspin of trying to pick up the pieces and somehow make the whole parenting thing work. If mothers aren’t fulfilling a healthy role in the home its because we men first screwed up ours.

For many parents, we want to win the parenting war going on within our culture and our homes.  In moments of inspiration and courage, we set the standards, communicate the boundaries, create the time and energy for our children, only to have it all undone by the next pouting match, soccer season, job promotion, moment of needed discipline, guilt trip, or conversation with another parent about all the things they let their kids do.

It’s harder now to parent our children God’s way than ever before, and my sense is that many  parents are dying a silent death as they resign themselves to a passive, tolerant, culturally correct style of parenting that might as well send the message to the rest of the world, “We give up, you raise them.”  It seems these days, we aren’t parenting to win, we are parenting to survive.

Like a seen from  the movie Braveheart, I feel like shouting out a charge to parents to pick up their parenting bow-and-arrow and fight!  Our children’s lives, our homes, our culture, and our future is at stake.  It may not be easy, but we CAN win!

I love the image God gives us of parenting in Psalm 127.

Psalm 127:4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.

Among the many layers of meaning within this passage, I believe this passage brings us tremendous wisdom on how to win as parents and parent to win!   To that end, here are some powerful principals from this singular passage…

1) We need to see our parenting as nothing less than a WAR for our children and their future.   As parents, we need to see ourselves as warriors at a DEFCON 5  level of alert with our parental radars fine tuned onto the battle field of our children’s lives. There can be no more passive, sideline parenting! Passive parenting is an act of surrender in the war going on for our children and their future.  Parent, do you know what’s underneath your child’s bed, in their closet? Do you know what their activity is on facebook? Do you monitor what music they listen too?  Do you know who their closest friends are? Do you have a relationship with their teachers and coaches?  Satan wants to have influence and leverage in your children’s lives, the question is, do you want it more than him? And, how much are you willing to flat out fight for it!  It will be and is a battle.

2) Draw your children as close as possible as soon as possible-  The #1 thing every parents needs in the war for our children and their future is… influence. The bonds of love and togetherness are the most important influence establishers you can have with your children.   The moment you lose influence as a parent is the moment you begin to lose the battle.

The first move an archer makes is to pull the arrow close to themselves. That action gains them the power, leverage, and control they need to point and shoot the arrow accurately.  The best archers bring the arrow as close to their body as possible.  Powerful influencers in your child’s life that draw them close to you are… love, affection , praise, example, correction, discipline, clear boundaries, interest, fun, togetherness, encouragement, and listening.  If you aren’t intimately and directly involved in your child’s life you will lack in influence, period.  Never let any person or thing win the battle for time, attention, and involvement in your child’s life.  It’s very hard to point our children in the right direction if we first don’t draw close to them and gain influence. If your children are 16 and younger, ask yourself… who or what are the top influencers in their life?  If your name wasn’t first or very high up on the list, you may have a real opportunity and need to strengthen this area of your parenting. No, a lack of influence isn’t always about what a parent has or hasn’t done, that’s for sure.  There are awesome, faithful parents who lack influence because their children have rebelled or made pour choices completely separate from a healthy home and great parents. Yet, for some parents, we lack needed influence because we simply aren’t doing our jobs.

3) Point your children in the direction God has for them.  After pulling the arrow close, aim is the next priority to the archer. Every great archer has a target in sight and in mind.  As parents we need to have a set target or goal for the parenting of our children. We need to have a sense of clear vision and direction. As my pastor friend Walk Kallestad says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”  As parents, we are a kind of launch pad to our children’s lives and part of our critical responsibility is to point their lives in the right direction. Being a few inches off-target on the launch pad can translate into being miles away from where God wants our children to be in the future..

The most important pursuit in this area of parenting is to discern what God’s vision is for your child’s future. The Bible says, “Train a child in the way he should go...”-Proverbs 22:6.  Notice is doesn’t say, train them in the way YOU went or the way YOU think they should go.

God has a unique vision for your child’s life and future, and chances are it won’t be in the same exact path you chose. Our job is to draw so close to God and our children that we can clearly see the destiny God has for our children. Our children have specialized God given passions, gifts, and personalities that need to be discerned, developed and directed.  Not having a close sense of where God is leading our children is like aimlessly pointing an arrow up in the air and hoping it hits some kind of target that turns out to be the one God wanted.

Furthermore, apart from the unique, specific future God has for our children, there are some general targets God has for all children. God wants us all to become followers of Jesus who grow into maturity and build His Kingdom. God wants all people to become men and women of Godly character, wisdom, and obedience. These are some of the essentials God sees as targets for all of our children.

God has a general and specific target and mind for your children. The question is, do you know what that target is, and are you pointing your parenting in that direction?

4) Release your children overtime to move from your influence to God’s influence

There is of little value for an archer to draw an arrow close to themsleves and carefully point it in the right direction if they aren’t going to ultimately release it.

The ultimate goal of our parenting is to release our children over time from being under our care, direction, and influence to establishing their own, personal walk with the Lord as they seek to follow God’s plan for their life.  No, we never stop being parents, but God desires us to release our children so that they are able to enter a free-will, loving, genuine relationship and life with Jesus. It is during this journey of increasing release that a child grows into expanding opportunity and freedom to own for themselves the direction and values you have been parenting them under.

Archers know that releasing an arrow too soon or waiting too long are both problematic.  Timing is everything.  When we release a child too soon we sabotage their ability to develop as they are not prepared to handle the levels of freedom and responsibility they are prematurely given. Yet, when we hold onto our children too long, we rob them of learning to take responsibility for their lives, facing the consequences of their own actions, and growing in character and confidence. In the one instance they fall to the ground unnecessarily, in the other they are never given the chance to fly.

I am amazed at how we as parents barely draw our kids close, spend very little time pointing our parenting, and haphazardly release are children into the world, and then wonder why we see them tumble, turn, and never reach their potential.

There is a war going on for our children’s lives, but it’s a war we can win!  Let’s take up our parenting bows and learn to fight for our children and their future.

Psalm 127:4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.

© 2019 Chris Kratzer

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