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Handling Your Children And Handling Your Parents

By John A. Huffman, Jr.

The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. (Proverbs 30:17)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" — this is the first commandment with a promise: "so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:1-3)

Today, on Father's Day, I feel led by the Holy Spirit to address parent-child relations.

Let me make clear that I do not share with you from the authority position of one who has mastered biblical teachings in my own life as either a father or a child. But I am endeavoring to wrestle with these issues along with you. God forbid that there be any attitude of arrogance or superiority. The starting point of everything I teach and preach is that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. None of us is perfect. That's another way of saying that all have sinned. Each of us, myself included, is part of this local organization, the church, which could just as well be referred to as "sinners anonymous." We are a group of men and women of all ages who acknowledge that we are sinners and need the forgiveness provided through Jesus Christ and the help and strength of the Holy Spirit and each other to make it through one day at a time.

Once this ground rule is clearly established, that I speak as one of you, not as one separate from you, we can move on as we endeavor to confront these very important teachings of God's Word.

The message has two parts. Part one is addressed to parents. Part two is addressed to children.

I.

In part one of this message I would like to draw your attention to five biblical reminders for parents.

Biblical reminder #1: Adolescent rebellion, to some extent, is both healthy and normal.

One of the biggest challenges facing me as a pastor is parents who come scared of their children as they move toward and into their adolescent years. Their speech changes, their dress changes, their tastes in music tend to push the limits, and some of the friends they hang out with are pretty scary. Remember this: The teenager who acts like her parents, thinks like her parents, dresses like her parents, enjoys the same music as her parents, is a most unique character and may not be the healthiest of young people. This is a time to stretch. This is a time to differentiate and see one's self as separate from Mom and Dad. It is a time to think. It is even a time to doubt the entire presuppositional basis of your parents' lifestyle, philosophy, spirituality and practical matters of conduct. It is a period, within the safety of home, to prepare to move away from home. All of this is part of what we call adolescence. It must happen.

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