Spiritual Director · September 7, 2017

Devote #100

There are probably many of you, like me, who look back on the years, now that we see our children all grown up, and watch them deal with their children. We critique their approach to life and discipline. Some things we agree with, others we question as to where they got such silly ideas.

One of those silly ideas that I never fell into was the thought of many a parent who wants to be their child’s “best friend.” It sounds great, but how that generally is displayed is by the parent acquiescing their parental responsibilities and letting the child do whatever they want, because that’s what a “best friend” would do.

We watch them in total disarray as the child does whatever he/she wants, and the parent, for fear of losing their “best friend” relationship, allows them to. What that parent doesn’t know or understand is, their kindness toward that child isn’t helping them one bit. On the outside it might look like kindness, but in actuality, it’s really hurting the child. Rewarding bad behavior is never a good idea.

I can tell you, there are a lot of people who want God to act like this parent.

That want someone who will let them do whatever they want, when they want, how they want. They don’t want to be told “no.” They want God to be their “best friend,” which means that nothing ever goes wrong and they get everything they want all the time. Doesn’t sound very real, does it?

We all know life doesn’t work like that. And frankly, neither does God.

Why do I tell you all of that?

Here’s what I read in the Word this morning,

“You surely don’t think much of God’s wonderful goodness or of His patience and willingness to put up with you. Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because He wants you to turn to Him?” — Romans 2:4

Another translation says it this way, “the kindness of God leads you to repentance.”

God is willing, as a Father, to love us, even when we’re unlovable. But, don’t misunderstand His kindness. His kindness is not to let you or me just keep going the wrong way, doing the wrong thing. No, His kindness steps in and sets us on the right path, going in His direction, doing what He wants done. That’s kindness. His kindness is meant to draw us back into a right relationship with Him – not as our “best friend” but as our God.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Meditate on God’s kindness and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to repent in those areas where you have gone wrong. As you turn back to God, know that He’ll be right there as a very loving Father.

Thank You for loving me so much to draw me back to You. Help me turn back into Your loving arms. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.