If you were called to court to prove that you’re a good parent, what evidence would you provide to convince the jury that your parenting has not only been your best, but can also be considered valuable and beneficial for your children? Join AMBrewster as he asks a probing question and prepares Christian parents to know for certain how to answer it.
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You’ve been called to court.
You arrive before a crowded room, a grim judge, and a panel of jurors all tasked with the responsibility of determining if your parenting is good or bad.
Everything is there. Bailiffs, a stenographer, even the press are present . . . but there’s one thing missing.
You have no attorney.
You are on trial for suspicion of poor parenting, and you are your own defense.
What would you say? What evidence would you provide to convince the jury that your parenting has not only been your best, but can also be considered valuable and beneficial for your children?
This scene is intimidating, and though few of us will ever have to see this fantasy depiction lived-out in our lives, our parenting is under constant scrutiny.
And the question we need to answer today is “Can You Defend Your Parenting?”
But before we do that, I want to encourage you to subscribe to The Celebration of God Podcast. For the time being, we will continue to post biblical parenting content here on Truth.Love.Parent. every Tuesday.
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Now, let’s find out if your parenting is defensible.
The scene has been set, the opening statements have been made, and now the judge has called on you to present evidence that your parenting has been beneficial to your children.
What exhibits will you provide? What witnesses will you call? What professionals will you invite to testify on your behalf?
If we’re being honest, some of us would be very wary to call our children to the stand. We’re not too certain what they think of our parenting, and perhaps that last consequence may be too fresh in their minds and may cloud their judgment.
Some of you are absolutely certain your child would tell the jury that your parenting is bad and hurtful. But maybe you don’t know why. Somewhere in the back of your mind you know you haven’t been the best parent. You know you’ve reacted far too often in anger, you know you’ve said and done things you regret. Maybe they’re right.
But perhaps you believe that your parenting — though it hasn’t been perfect — has been very good and your child’s bad attitude is a result of their immaturity or hatred of what’s good.
Still, calling some of your children to the stand may prove to be dangerous to your defense.
So, who else would you call?
On what would you found your argument?
Some of you may try to provide evidence of the fact that you have followed all of the conventional parenting ideologies of the day. You may bring in a stack of parenting books and internet articles with sworn affidavits proving that you instituted the lessons you gleaned into your daily parenting.
You’d love to ask your favorite parenting influencer to testify on your behalf, but they can neither confirm nor deny that you’ve actually followed their advice.
I’d like you to really think about this. Take this question seriously.
What would be your core argument to prove to the jury that your parenting has value, and how would you convince them that the practical exercise of your parenting has been consistent with your core argument?
Right now, if we’re taking these questions seriously, you’re experiencing one of a number of reactions.
But regardless of where you land on that spectrum, there is only one way to argue that your parenting is valuable.
But even then, the best evidence you could provide may or may not convince a jury of your peers.
So, what’s the answer? Can you defend your parenting? If you can, who would you be convincing? Who actually needs to be convinced? And does any of this really matter?
Let’s answer some of those questions right now.
1. Does it matter if you can defend your parenting?
It definitely does.
I Peter 3:13-18 vividly explains our situation: “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”
I mentioned earlier that our parenting is under scrutiny. It’s being judged by your kids, your spouse, your extended family, your neighbors, almost everyone who sees you parent, and — ultimately — God.
And we must be prepared to gives a defense for our choices — especially if we claim those choices are grounded in the hope we have in Christ.
So, yes, it does matter if you can defend your parenting. God’s expects that you should be able to.
If you can’t, there’s one of two problems. A. Perhaps you could give a good defense, but you simply don’t know how. And B. Perhaps you don’t have a good defense to give.
2. With everyone making judgments about your parenting, which ones really matter?
I’m going to argue that everyone who’s right matters quite a bit. That’s not limited just to God. It includes family members, friends, and even strangers who accurately and rightly judge your parenting against the only standard that matters.
On the other hand, there are billions of people who don’t matter.
But what if your jury were comprised of no one other than people who are wrong in their parenting philosophy? Well, if you’re a good parent, then you can assume you’re going to lose in their estimation.
But — according to God — that doesn’t matter.
Because ultimately there is only one Person Who’s opinion of your parenting actually counts.
Romans 8:31 reads, “If God is for us, who is against us?” That basically means, what does it matter that other people don’t agree with you and God?
Now, let’s couple this question with the first — Does it matter if you can defend your parenting?
In Romans 14:12 we read, “Each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Our parenting is under scrutiny, and we will be held accountable for our parenting before God.
Hebrews 13:17 shows us the responsibility of all leaders: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.”
So, yes, the reason we need to be able to rightly defend our parenting is that God does have a standard with which He does and will compare us.
That means the final question is desperately important for us to be able to answer in the affirmative: “Can I defend my parenting?”
Now, before we finish up today, I want to make one thing very clear.
Please understand that I’m not referring to someone who’s being defensive. They feel trapped and their pride and selfishness are flaring up, and they’re grabbing at whatever they can to provide excuses (good or bad) to convince everyone listening that their parenting was valuable.
This has nothing to do with a childish defensiveness that feels the need to persuade all those in our hearing that we really are a good parent.
I’m talking about the strictly legal sense. Having to defend my parenting is identical to “providing evidences that my parenting is objectively good by comparing it to an acceptable standard.”
Again, most of us will never have to do this, but the exercise is exceptionally important.
Truth.Love.Parent. exists to help you be intentional and premeditated. If you can’t say, “My parenting is good because ______________,” then you don’t really know why you do what you do. You’re not being intentional and premeditated. You’re making it up as you go hoping that what feels right actually is right.
But we need to know, and we can know that our parenting is defensible.
And that’s our discussion for next time.
Today I wanted to put a splinter in our brain. I want this question to gnaw at us until we figure it out or we listen to episode 389.
What evidence can you provide to your family, church, neighbors, community, and God to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your parenting — though it isn’t perfect — is objectively good?
And next time we’re going to discuss what genuinely “Defensible Parenting” looks like.
Then and only then will we be able to determine if our parenting is truly defensible as well as simultaneously learn how to defend it if it is.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets, and subscribe to The Celebration of God so we can meet on Friday to talk about discipling your kids.
And if you would like any assistance, you can reach us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or call (828) 423-0894.
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Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love.
To that end, join us next time as we look at what it takes to have genuinely defensible parenting.
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