TLP 372: Parenting like Satan
It’s disgusting to imagine, but it probably happens more often than we realize. We all have a tendency to parent exactly like the Devil. Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents better understand themselves and move away from demonic parenting toward Christ-like parenting.
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Discover the following episodes by clicking the titles or navigating to the episode in your app:
“Parenting Like The Holy Spirit” (episode 123)
“Parenting like Hosea” (episode 135)
“Parenting Like Jonah” (episode 197)
“Parenting Like Lot” (episode 214)
“Stop Trying to Buy Your Kids” (episode 117)
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Click "Read More" for today’s Episode Notes and Transcript.
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No doubt the title of today’s episode startled some of you and peeked the curiosity of others.
We’ve done a number of “Parenting like so-and-so” over the past four years.
We’ve done “Parenting Like The Holy Spirit,” “Parenting like Hosea,” “Parenting Like Jonah,” and “Parenting Like Lot.” And we’re preparing to do another called “Parenting Like the Rich Young Ruler.”
As you can tell, most of the “Parenting Like” episodes have been negative in nature. Anyone who knows even a little about the Bible would know that Jonah, Lot, the Rich Young Ruler, and Satan are not good role models for anything . . . let alone parenting.
They say that the best way to spot counterfeit money is to study and handle real money. I found my first counterfeit while working as a cashier Boston Market in the mid 90’s. I handled so much money on a daily basis that I instantly knew the fake bill just didn’t feel right.
And so people may argue, then let’s spend our time studying good parenting so we know how to spot the bad parenting. And I would agree that that is a fantastic idea.
But let’s change the metaphor for a moment. What if we’re the counterfeit, and the problem is that we believe we’re okay.
When we compare our lives to Christ-honoring parenting we see the superficial comparisons and we think — my parenting has George Washington on the front, and their parenting has George Washington. Mine is green, hers is green. Mine is rectangular, his is rectangular. And then we go our way thinking that our parenting genuinely pleases the Lord.
Sometimes, in those situations, we just need to have someone prove that our parenting is counterfeit by comparing it to sinful parenting models. Anywhere and everywhere our parenting matches the sinful examples is a necessary proof that we need to reevaluate our parenting.
That’s why we do this.
“Parenting Like Jonah” helped unveil our selfishness and the bad attitudes we carry into parenting.
“Parenting Like Lot” uncovered the nasty habit we have to sacrifice our children’s spiritual safety for their physical comforts.
Lord willing we’ll find that our parenting looks nothing like Satan’s, but — if you’re human and anything like I — then you’re going to find some very unfortunate and uncomfortable overlaps.
But before we do that, I’d like to ask you to shop Amazon. My family and I really appreciate the fact that we can find anything for which we may be looking, and find it at a competitive price. TLP’s new studio was completely furnished by Amazon.
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And while you’re at TruthLoveParent.com, don’t forget to check out our free episode notes and transcripts on our blog.
Alright, so how exactly does Satan parent?
We’re going to spend most of our time in the book of Revelation today. It’s during the Tribulation period that Satan will be in direct control of the entire world government via his possession of the anti-christ.
The four main ways he leads and governs will help us see how Satan “parents.”
1. Satan lies to his children.
All throughout Scripture Satan is known as the Great Deceiver. He lied to himself, he lied to the Father, he lied to Eve, he lied to the Son, and he lies to us.
In Revelation 20 verses 3 and 10 we read, “and [God] threw [Satan] into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time . . . . And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Satan’s whole government is built on a lie. There are far too many to enumerate here. He lies about absolutely everything.
But for our purposes today, I want us to consider how we deceive our kids.
Lord willing, this first point won’t apply to as many of you as some of our later points, but I believe we’ve all been guilty of it.
We tell our kids there is no ice cream when there is and justify in our minds that there’s no ice cream “for them.”
We lie to our kids about make-believe creatures in an attempt to control them. How many fairy tales were made up so that parents could motivate their kids to obey?
Santa Clause is used by some to manipulate their kids, and I heard an interview recently with actress Zoe Saldana who played Gomorra in the Avengers universe. Her kids believe she’s friends with the Incredible Hulk, and she told the interviewer that she’ll pretend to call the hulk on the phone in order to get her kids to eat their food.
If we lie and deceive and tell half-truths to our kids to get them to be quiet, go to sleep, be good, and eat their vegetables . . . we’re parenting just like Satan does.
Now, my point today is not to outline all the reasons Satan’s parenting style is so terrible. I’m not going to take the time to explain why lying is a sin and how it absolutely undercuts our relationships.
My point is for us to honestly look at ourselves. Do you knowingly say untrue things to your kids and justify those lies by convincing yourself it’s okay because of their age or the fact that they’re on a need to know basis or because you’re mom or because you really don’t want to take the time to parent them well and lying is just easier?
I know I’ve done it. And though I don’t do it often, it’s still wicked. It’s a sin against my kids and a sin against my God.
And the same goes for you.
Now, if you’re wondering how to change, I plan to end our episode with hope for how we can stop parenting like Satan.
But, before then we need to look at . . .
2. Satan manipulates his children.
All four of these points are tied to the others, but they all have unique facets that bear special attention.
Yes, we lie to our kids to manipulate them, but we also do other things to manipulate them.
Four times in the book of Revelation John describes the “Great Harlot.” At this time in history, the Harlot is a metaphorical representation of the renewed city of Babylon which is basically the incarnation of the World System. It’s Satan’s propaganda machine during the Tribulation.
Listen to how she’s described in chapters 17 and 18: “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” “She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.” “She glorified herself and lived sensuously.” She is filled with “cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, 13 and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives . . . all things that were luxurious and splendid.” Merchants became rich in her. The sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters were heard in her. Craftsman of every craft were found in her. The sound of a mill was always present in her. The light of a lamp shone in her. The voice of the bridegroom and bride were heard in her. Merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by her sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.
I read all of that because it’s clear that harlotry and sensuality and immorality and drunkenness is a sin, but I also wanted us to hear the extensive list of otherwise good things — precious metals and gems, music, food, oils, animals, and the like.
Why was all of that named. It was named because Satan manipulates his children by giving them what they want.
One of the boys at Victory Academy used to joke, “Come to the Dark Side; we have cookies.” Of course, it as Darth Vader and he was lying. You can’t trust the Dark Side.
But Satan is savvier than Darth Vader. He lavishes material gain on his followers in order to convince them that they made the right choice.
How about you?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard parents bribing their children. “Just do this, and I’ll give you that.”
We had to instruct the parents who sent their sons to Victory Academy not to make deals with their boys. “If you finish your time at Victory without any trouble, we’ll _________________.”
That’s not how blood-bought followers of Christ are to parent their children.
If our kids are only “obeying” because of what they’re going to receive, your relationship with them is a sham.
Sure, it may buy you a temporary reprieve, but their demands will return and intensify the older they get, and you will parent your child into a worse version than Veruca Salt from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
We should never negotiate with our kids for them to do chores. “Do these dishes and you can play on your device.”
We don’t negotiate with them for their consequences. “I’m taking your phone away until you start respecting me.”
Episode 117 is called “Stop Trying to Buy Your Kids" and it deals with the fact that we sometimes do nice things for our kids simply because we’re trying to get them to think well of us.
Affluence is a powerful manipulator. Most of us have no idea how children are affected by how they view their family’s material wealth as compared to others. If we don’t actively parent them away from that kind of thinking, we end up rearing children who love or hate us based on our ability to provide them the comfort they believe they deserve or need.
Another way we manipulate our kids is by using worldly wisdom. It may not seem like deliberate manipulation, but when we motivate our kids behavior by any means other than Truth, we’re really just manipulating them.
We tell our kids to be nice to other children or else other children won’t be nice to them.
We tell our kids not to listen to a certain kind of music because it will corrupt their minds.
We tell our kids that when they refuse to go to sleep at night it makes mommy sad.
Now, all of those things may actually be true, but devoid of God’s infinitely more important motivation for our obedience, we’re only giving our kids half of the truth. We’re manipulating them with second-rate reasoning.
Satan is going to govern the world by dangling a carrot in front of their noses. He will even let them nibble on it from time to time, but all he’s trying to do is keep them from considering the eternal riches God is offering.
We should never do the same.
Our third point can be tied with the previous two, but — again — it needs to be appreciated on its own.
3. Satan scares his children.
Satan is a violent creature.
Revelation 11:7 refers to the beast who is the anti-christ through whom Satan is controlling the one world government. John describes him as “the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.” The “them” is referring to God’s end times prophets.
The mark of the beast from Revelation 13 is a way to manipulate the people with fear. If you don’t take the mark of the beast, you won’t be able to buy or sell.
The beast will also eventually require worship and threaten the lives of those who don’t give it.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians will be murdered by the beast. And it will be Satan who unites the armies of the world (on two separate occasions) in order to attempt to overthrow God by physical force.
My friends, only bad authorities use violence and the threats thereof.
While a governing body or official may claim that they’re patriots fighting for what’s right, Oscar Wilde rightly noted that “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.”
When we love our power more than we love God, at one point or another we will use violence to either seize it or keep it.
Violence is the natural and expected outcome of increased sin. From Cain through the days of Noah through the murder of Christ and the martyrdom of His saints throughout the millennia, violence is necessary if you’re going to prove to a weaker individual how powerful you are.
How many of us parent like Satan. We use our bigger size and our louder voices to show our kids who’s boss. We lash out physically through pokes and pinches and smacks and punches and kicks.
Now, before I go any further, do not misunderstand me. God commands spanking done in the right way for the right reasons to be a necessary part of teaching our children that sin has painful consequences. Better a stinging heinie now that a failed marriage or job loss or jail time later. We have plenty of episodes that look at the biblical data and methods concerning valuable spanking.
It obviously must be done to God’s honor and glory.
But that is not what I’m discussing here. That’s not violence. In the Scriptures, violence always refers to something that disrupts the divinely established order of things. It’s an affront to God’s way of handling issues.
Self-defense, corporal punishment, and wars sanctioned by God are not — by biblical definition — violence.
Violence is when we use our bodies to force people to do what we want them to do.
And whether we’re lying to our kids, manipulating our kids, or scaring our kids, we’re doing it for the same reason Satan does it.
4. Satan controls his children.
Have you ever noticed that nowhere in Scripture have parents ever been commanded to control their kids.
I Timothy 3 tells us that a godly man will manage his house well, but the word translated “manage” means to be responsible for and to lead. A child who doesn’t follow his father’s wise leading isn’t proof that the man didn’t manage his house well.
It is never — I repeat — never commanded, implied, suggested, or illustrated that parents are to control their kids.
But isn’t that so often our goal?
“Their kids are out of control.” “Why can’t they control their kids?” “Will you please get control of her.”
The reason Satan has to use lies and bribes and violence is that his goal is to control people. And if we use deceit and manipulation and threats, we’re doing it for the exact same reason.
So, how about you?
If you’re honest with yourself, as I’ve been honest with myself, I can’t imagine how you haven’t found at least a few similarities in how Satan parents and how you parent.
So, what’s the answer?
Well, it all goes back to our calling in Christ. God wants us to be Ambassador Parents.
That right there completely removes us from the picture. It’s not about me doing things to get you to do what I want. It’s about discovering what God wants us to do.
1. Speak Truth, don’t lie.
God wants me to fill my parenting with His Word, His commands, His expectations, His Scriptures.
God wants us to persuade our children to believe Truth, not manipulate them into a behavior.
In our two-part Speed Parenting episode we looked at two sinful parenting styles and one Christ-honoring style.
One of the sinful styles uses pragmatic suggestions to persuade and pragmatic demands to control.
The other uses spiritually-sounding pragmatic advice to persuade and spiritually-sounding pragmatic commands to control.
But God wants us counsel our kids with His Word in order to persuade and admonish with His Word in order to lead.
2. Persuade with Truth, don’t manipulate.
God doesn’t manipulate us by any means — comfortable or uncomfortable. Yes, there are legitimate consequences for sinning and for being righteous, but those are never presented as the goal.
I’ve never liked sharing the gospel with the main goal of “spending eternity in heaven.” That, my friends, will be the least amazing thing about heaven. Glorifying God in an eternal relationship of worship will be the best part of heaven.
The fire and brimstone of hell will be terrible, but the godless inability to worship what we were created to worship will be the true torment.
We persuade by presenting the Truth, modeling it, and drawing our kids attention to it over and over again.
Of course, they are free to resist the Truth. Even in those moments, God does not want us trying to manipulate them with bribes and threats.
3. Instill reverence for God with Truth, don’t frighten.
Yes, the Lord does want us to fear Him. We’ve discussed that concept in detail in past episodes.
We should desire more that our children know, understand, and love God than they should be afraid of the consequences they’ll receive if they don’t do what we want.
I hope, you’re seeing a trend here. We need to speak the Truth, persuade with Truth, and instill reverence for God by using the Truth.
Consider a sports metaphor if you will. Our young children have absolutely no good reason to celebrate the teams we enjoy. They don’t know the stats, and they can’t legitimately critique the plays or the coaching.
I’m assuming none of them cheer for your team because you threaten or manipulate them to do so.
I imagine that your child wears the jersey and cheers beside you because they love you. They revere you. They respect you. It’s more about being with you than anything else.
Yes, we will have to use consequences in our parenting; God is very clear about that. But, most of it should be about introducing our kids to the majesties of God and inviting them to believe He is Who He says He is.
And when we parent like this, we . . .
4. Lead in Truth, don’t control.
It’s not about making our children do anything. It’s not about changing them. It’s about going in the right direction, leading them in the right direction, and praying that they’ll continue in the right direction.
And — don’t forget — the right direction is revealed in the Scriptures. It’s up to God to define, not us. It has nothing to do with what we want; it’s all about what He wants.
That, my friends, is how we stop parenting like Satan.
Satan is arrogant and prideful. It’s all about what he wants. He doesn’t love anyone more than he lusts after his own glory. That’s why he lies and manipulates and bribes and threatens and kills and frightens and attempts to control people.
But, when we parent in Christ, we’re constrained to submit to His will in His ways for His reasons.
And it has nothing to do with control . . . it’s all about servant leadership.
I hope you’ve been honest and critical of your parenting. I hope you were humble enough to admit that — more often than you’d like to advertise — you parent just like Satan tries to rule the world.
May this jarring revelation open our eyes and remind us of the glorious privilege it is to parent for God as Ambassadors of His glory.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets, and never hesitate to contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or (828) 423-0894 if you have family-specific questions you’d like to ask us.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in Christ’s truth and Christ’s love. It has nothing to do with us.
To that end, please join us next time as we look at “The Counter-Intuitive Nature of Parenting in Christ.”
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