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Parents, heal yourself

In Luke 4:23, Jesus cited the Jewish proverb, “Physician, heal yourself,” (NKJV) which means, according to Albert Barnes, “Suppose that a man should attempt to heal another when he was himself diseased in the same manner.”

Christ wants us to be transformed by the gospel (Romans 12:1-2) so we can walk in holiness (Isaiah 35:8; 1 Peter 1:13-15). We can’t possibly hope to win the world unless we’ve adequately prepared ourselves in knowledge and righteousness (Proverbs 11:9).

As parents, we need to consider this carefully not only as Christians, but as parents in general because nothing in parenting comes naturally. We must do the hard work to become better people. 

What we learned from watching those who raised us isn’t inherently correct. Tradition has little bearing on whether something is good or wholesome. We must be willing to adapt and grow.

Our personal upbringing and that of our siblings is only a guide to raising our own children. In fact, when our child is born, there has never existed another one like ours. Accordingly, we must struggle to stay ahead of them since we are working without a blueprint.

It’s imperative that we strive to know as much as we possibly can about our child. Not that we smother them but that we carefully listen and observe.

God advised, “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). In other words,

  • To help them become a better person, we do the work ourselves.
  • To help them mature, we become a pattern.
  • To help them master their speech and behavior, ours must be healthy.
  • To help them go to heaven, we show them the way with our lives.
  • To have better friends, we provide the proper environment.

We can’t ask our children to do these things unless we are working hard to accomplish the same goals. If we aren’t willing to do the work, don’t have them in the first place.

Find the best sources of teaching and guidance and always be a parent student. Life, work and grown-up responsibilities are monumental, but our children are worth it.

We can take the time to think and hone our skills and apologize to our children when we slip up and fail. But get up and keep moving forward because they most certainly will.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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