Parents, listen to testimony before judging

When a prisoner stands before the judge, he defends himself through his attorney. Even if found guilty, he knows he presented his case for innocence.

In our legal system, we’re innocent until proven guilty. We cherish this freedom and we’d do all within our power to retain that civil right. Sadly, too many children lack this privilege in their own homes.

Parents make judgments relating to their children in matters large and small. Like judges, they should legislate with wisdom and patience within a clearly defined standard. However, when unfairness exists, they can’t be recalled like a rogue judge.

Good parents must be cautious to avoid insecurity, immaturity, fear or haste as they determine guilt or innocence. Like an astute judge, they must listen carefully to their children’s testimony (2 Kings 3:16-28).

Far too often, we take the easy route by issuing a verdict on the barest of evidence. We fail to listen to their story or to consider extenuating circumstances because we fear our authority being questioned.

The adage goes that we shouldn’t buy groceries while hungry. Similarly, we shouldn’t judge our children in anger, wrath or with vengeance. They don’t stand a chance when we do.

Listen to their testimony and try to understand their perspective. Punishment can still be brought but they will bear it better when they’ve had their say. Respect them enough to let them speak. Their insight will contextualize the situation.

Don’t be guilty of “provoking [y]our children to wrath” and possibly turning them against the Lord (Ephesians 6:4, NKJV). Their confidence and faith in us is earned and we must use it wisely.

Our goal should always be to help them become better people. So listen carefully because their future depends on it. Be the adult and the teacher.

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