I was talking to a friend the other day who was struggling with some poor choices that an adult child had made. One of the hardest things she had to deal with was the way other Christians (including her pastor) seemed to think about the situation. It reminded me how often we let pride and assumptions override our love of the brethren.  How many times do we miss the opportunity to share our troubles with a dear friend who might encourage us and lend some perspective because we are afraid they will judge us.

One thing I have learned over the years is that there is no perfect person or perfect family.  There are people in the ministry that try to appear to be perfect.  News flash:  No one but God is perfect!  Even the families that seem to have reared kids that are serving the Lord and doing everything that any parent would want have heartaches and disappointments.

As sisters and brothers in God’s family, we need to remember that our creator made us all different.  We have unique personalities.  Some people just seem to naturally want to serve the Lord and do what is right while others have to take the hard route of experience.  The fact that a young person makes, what seems to us, poor choices does not necessarily reflect bad parenting.  I am NOT saying that their parent was perfect.  Each of us hopes and prays that we will rear children that will desire to serve the Lord and contribute to society.  Unfortunately, we are sinful human beings and only by the grace of God will our children make us proud.  Oops, there is the problem.  We want to be proud of our progeny.

Maybe part of the problem is that we are trying to follow the world’s standards for who and what we should honor.  Sometimes we tend to be like the proverbial jewish mother that wants her children to go into a profession that makes lots of money and is held in high esteem by the general public.  You know, things like being a doctor, lawyer, successful business owner or community leader.  We may have children that are called to a profession like that.  But not all children are gifted by God to be in a profession.  As Christians we should be thrilled if our children are called to full time Christian ministry even if it is in some poor area where they will never be honored by others and most likely will not ever make enough to live on by the world’s standards. Our goal should be to rear children that honor the Lord and will faithfully serve Him in whatever capacity He calls them.  That at the end of their lives they might say with Paul “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”  II Timothy 4:7

When our friends are struggling with choices that their children have made, it is not up to us to judge their parenting skills.  Our job as Christian brothers and sisters is to pray for and encourage them.  We don’t always see the whole picture and we certainly don’t know what God is doing in their lives to mold them to be what He wants them to be.  In fact, sometimes the choices that our children make can be opportunities for us to understand other parent’s struggles when their offspring do not meet their expectations.

It is so easy for us to watch a family from the outside and say to ourselves, “they should have done it this way.  If that were my child I would discipline them better or train them to do …….”.  Sometimes maturity does bring certain insights because of our life experience; but, we can’t possibly know all about another family’s personalities, gifts and situations.  I suggest that we give others the same mercy and grace that we want to receive when our family is struggling.  Let’s devote our time to praying for our friends and their children and asking God how we can encourage others in the struggles of life.


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