Who is the best parent you have ever known? I will give you a minute to think about it. Maybe you would be prone to think about your own parents or a favorite uncle. Maybe you admire a friend you know or maybe you would name yourself. Whatever the case, I am sure we can all think about someone who really is an example of exemplary Christian parenting.
The truth is that God is really the best parent who ever was. He lovingly rescued His people from slavery in Egypt. He split the Red Sea to help his children to cross over safely and destroyed their enemies behind them. He caused a cloud to cover them from the heat of the day and a fire to light the way for them to see at night. He fed them manna and gave them water in the desert. After everything God did for His people in the wilderness, what was their reaction? They repeatedly turned their back on Him. If God was the best parent who ever was and couldn’t control the sinfulness of His own children, does that give you hope or discouragement today? It gives me hope, and it helps me to know that I am not alone.
I can lead a horse to water, but I cannot make it drink even if I know it is thirsty. I can sit a child on the potty, but I can’t make him go pee or poop even if I know it would give him relief. I can train my children in the way they should go, but I can’t make them accept the Lord as their Savior unless He alone does a work in their heart.
Adam and Eve were the first parents. Let’s assume that they parented each one of their kids the same way. They learned first hand from the Master in the Garden of Eden. One of their kids, Able, chose what was good, and the other, Cain, killed Able for it. Hear me when I say that the parenting was the same for both of the children, but the outcome was different.
Let us assume, as well, that the father of the prodigal son parented both of his sons the same. However, one of his sons chose what was good, and the other chose to waste his inheritance on debauchery and excess. What is the difference?