What do you do if your child doesn’t submit to God’s reality? What does God want you to do if your child does acknowledge their sin? Today AMBrewster talks to Christian parents about what it means to be a Counselor Parent.
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Thank you for joining us today.
If this is your first episode, I welcome you.
TLP is a podcast for Christian parents who want to parent the way God intended.
And the series we’re currently in is about the 5 jobs with which God has tasked us.
Of course, this is part 4 of the series, so I recommend — if you’re just joining us — to start with episode 184.
Actually, I encourage you to start with our pilot series and episode one. Our content is evergreen because it’s rooted firmly in God’s Word, and His Truth is eternally relevant and applicable.
And for those of you returning with us today, I welcome you as well. If you’ve never taken advantage of our free episode notes and transcript of each show, I challenge you to check that out on our blog, Taking Back the Family.
And — speaking of our blog — we’re going to feature a guest author in the very near future. He’s a pastor from California who wrote a series of parent-focused articles for his congregation, and he has partnered with Truth.Love.Parent., and we’ll be sharing that content with you over the next few months.
And — lastly — before we get into today’s topic, please check out Facebook for more information about our first TLP meetup in Dallas, TX.
I can’t wait to connect with you face-to-face, talk, pray, and encourage each other.
I hope that if you are or will be in the Dallas area on September 17th, you’ll make plans to stop by.
Keep listening to the podcast for more details and like us on Facebook to get event updates.
Okay, so today we’re going to discuss the fourth job all Christian parents have been called to do.
By way of review, as followers of Christ, our main responsibility is to be an Ambassador. Part of that job requires us to teach our children God’s Truth. When they reject that Truth, we then need to help them reinterpret their worldview.
But what do we do if our kids continue to reject the Truth?
What do we do if they accept our reinterpretation of life?
And that’s the focus for today.
As a reminder, we’re taking our marching orders from II Timothy 3:16. If we’re to be God’s Ambassadors, and if He created the Bible to be the perfect revelation of Himself, and if the Bible was created to be used in four specific ways, then we can know God expects us to be part of that process.
Let’s re-read the passage together.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Teaching speaks to our Educator role, Reproof describes our Interpreter role, and Correction sums up today’s focus.
The Greek word translated “correction” is used only one time in the Bible. Like we learned early, that’s called a hapax legomena.
Sometimes that can complicate things when you’re trying to understand the root idea of a word in an ancient language,
What we know is that this word refers to “a restoration to an upright or right state.”
I love how this passage grows on itself. It’s not presenting four unrelated tasks, it’s giving us four jobs that can all be applied to the same task depending on how hard it becomes.
Picture it this way: In theory, all it should take for our children to submit to God is to teach them the Truth. However, since they so often live in a delusion, God’s called us to help them reinterpret life. If they submit to God’s interpretation, then we have another tool to help our children be restored to the right state.
That tool is called “correction,” or — better yet — counsel.
This means that our third job as parents is to be our kids’ Counselors.
In episode 53, Dr. Heath Lambert and I discussed the differences between parenting and counseling. It was a great interview; you should check it out.
And those of you who heard it should remember that they’re practically identical.
I made a similar observation about counseling and discipleship in episode 173 earlier this season when we were talking about Disciple-Making parents.
Counseling, discipleship, and parenting are the exact same job exercised within slightly different (though sometimes identical) relationships.
Counseling will include instruction and interpretation, but — primarily — it’s the process of helping someone put off their sinful choices, renew their minds, and put on Christ-likeness — to correct their course.
Let us consider that passage for a moment. It’s Ephesians 4:17-24. I know we’ve looked at Ephesians 4 a lot recently, but this is a different part of the chapter.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
Paul is describing people who have not submitted to Truth. They’re ignorant and dark in their understanding because they rejected the teaching they received. And their interpretation of life is futility. It’s delusional. And so they live a calloused existence filled with sin.
But listen to the next word . . .
I love that God always has a plan.
“But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him,” there’s the teaching role “as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The renewing of our minds is accepting God’s interpretation of our lives, and the correction occurs as we turn from sin to righteousness.
That’s what counseling does. Using the Scripture, we help our children know what they need to stop and what they need to start in order to align themselves with the interpretation they now believe; the interpretation you taught them from God’s Word.
If your children want to learn to obey, can you show them from the Bible what they need to stop doing and what they need to start doing?
If your kids are being tempted by drugs, do you know what the Bible says about the things they need to cease and the practices they need to embrace?
What about sexuality? What about tattling? What about lying and complaining and laziness and greed?
As parents, God wants us equipped to use His Word to connect those dots for our kids.
It’s all there. The Bible is sufficient for our parenting, we just have to know it. We have to expand our Parenting Bibles. We need to study the Word, grow therein, and let that flow over into our kids.
And — like Ephesians 4 said — this will result in our children being created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
And this is — pretty much — the whole mission of Truth.Love.Parent.
We accept that this podcast is primarily for born again believers who need to grow in our five parenting responsibilities. So, we use God’s Word to teach and interpret and correct and train in order to teach you how to teach and interpret and correct and train.
And many of our most well-liked episodes are the ones that step us through the put-off/put-on progression.
Now, there are any number of verses to which we could turn to discuss biblical counseling. But — to be honest — we spent a lot of time there already.
In order to broaden your understanding of this topic, please listen to the episodes I mentioned before, but you also need to check out episode 4, “Don’t Lose Your Influence!”
That show deals with another Greek word that’s all about the topic of counseling.
So, we teach our children what’s right, but they choose to sin. So we help them interpret their choices and consequences in light of God’s Word, and they choose to submit. Then — and only then — can we help them correct their ways via counseling.
Now, it’s important to remember the progression. I believe too many parents want to be Counselor Parents all the time without exercising the other jobs.
Teaching is the foundation we must all lay with our kids and continue to strengthen every day. But a good Interpreter Parent doesn’t avoid teaching. An Interpreter Parent’s job is going to involve more teaching — or reminders about what was previously learned — on top of the Interpretation. And then the Counselor Parent will constantly be teaching and interpreting as they correct.
And — you can imagine — the fourth job is going to include the other three, and being a good Ambassador requires that we know how to do all four well.
Break: In a moment, Aaron’s going to give a real-life example from our own kids how Ambassador Parents utilize Teaching, Interpreting, and Counseling to work through a situation regarding chores.
But before he does that, we want to remind you to share this episode with your friends. You can post it on social media, but you can also email it directly to someone who needs it.
You can also find our free episode notes at Taking Back the Family, and our full transcript to read in your leisure.
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Now enjoy the rest of the show.
All of this means that when your child gets sassy with their sibling while doing the dishes, as the Ambassador, you must step into their lives as God would.
So you either teach or — assuming you’ve already taught theses truths — you remind your child what God says about being kind and loving and preferring each other.
Lord willing, they submit, apologize, and the dishes get finished to the honor and glory of God.
But if they don’t, then you need to don the next hat. You then move into Interpreter mode. Since the child doesn’t seem to care about the Truth they just received, you’re going to need to give more, and you’re also going to have to help your child see that they’re living in a delusion.
They think they can reject God’s will and be successful, but that couldn’t be further from the Truth. So you remind your children of the greatness of God and His right to rule creation. You remind them that sin hurts and explain to them how their sin is destroying the foundation of the relationships in their home. You can talk about the fool, the apostate, the unbeliever, or anyone in Scripture who illustrates this point.
Lord willing, the child submits, apologizes, and the dishes can get finished to the honor and glory of God as you help your child correct their behavior.
But what if they don’t? What if they continue refusing God’s reality?
Like I said before, I think too many people move into the Correction phase as the next logical step. They tell their child how they need to talk and act, threaten them if they don’t, and either the child gives in so as not to be punished or they continue to push and receive the consequences, and we somehow think we’ve corrected them.
In fact, how we use the term “correct” proves this point. In many of our minds, “correction” is the process of giving consequences. However, true correction only occurs then the child has stopped going the wrong way and is now going the correct way.
Let me say it this way, you cannot correct someone who doesn’t want to be corrected. We already have a tool for that. Someone who wants to continue living in a delusion needs to be educated and reinterpreted.
Now — if you’re Interpreting the right way — consequences will definitely be involved. They must be. It’s biblical, and you’re an Ambassador Parent, and we have a number of episodes about how to do that correctly.
But you can’t move to the counseling stage until the child genuinely submits to the reinterpretation — not just is conciliated to keep from receiving more consequences.
Too much time is wasted trying to counsel children who need reproof.
And — like I said in “Disciple-Making Parents,” you can’t counsel an unbeliever or someone who’s living like one.
Teaching is a tool that God created to be useable on any person.
Reproof was created by God to be used on people who reject the teaching.
But Counseling was created by God to only work on people who submit to the teaching and the reproof.
So, let’s make sure we’re using the right tools for the right jobs. Don’t put on your counselor hat if your child needs education and interpretation, you’re just wasting your time.
So, there we go. The Ambassador Parent also needs to be an Educator Parent, an Interpreter Parent, and a Counselor Parent.
And on our next episode we’re going to talk about the fifth and final job God called and created each parent to do.
If you’re having a unique struggle at home and would like specialized answers to your specific needs, please don’t hesitate to contact Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com. We’d love to see how we can best serve you and your family.
Being a Counselor Parent is actually one of the most enjoyable jobs. It happens within he context of a child humbly admitting their fault and desiring to change. But you have to lay the right foundation before you can get there, and you don’t want to get there too soon.
So, be wise to know which job you need to do in the moment.
To that end, I’ll see you next time.
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