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Welcome back to the second episode in our False Parents series.
If you didn’t catch our first episode, please do not listen to this one. The first part of this series defines what a False Parent is, and if you come into this show expecting that you and I have the same definition, you’ll likely be very confused and/or annoyed.
On our last episode I worked hard to define exactly what a False Parent is according to God’s definitions from His Word.
And those of us who are returning should now be ready to learn how to correctly identify False Parenting in us and other people.
But — before we do that — will you please take a minute to rate and review this podcast? We have a really good rating, but there were some people who disagree with Christianity in general who took their opportunity to drag our rating down.
If you can give us a 5-star rating, I’d invite you to do so sooner rather than later. And — if you can’t — please reach out to us at TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com and let us know why. We’d really appreciate that.
Lastly, don’t forget that you can download our free episode notes and read our free transcripts at TruthLoveParent.com.
And — with that — let’s learn how to identify False Parenting lest we fall into the trap.
From the outset, though, I want you to know that this episode may be longer than usual, and that’s okay because it’s filled with a ton of Scripture, and you can’t have too much Scripture.
I thought that — in light of our last episode — if I’m claiming to speak for God, I need to be able to support my claims.
So, if you choose to listen to this in two parts, that’s not a problem. I’m going to talk about nine main ways to identify a False Parent, so perhaps you may want to pause the episode after number four.
Okay, for starters, as we approach this topic our biggest need is to recognize that Jesus wants us to deal with the log in our own eyes before trying to deal with the splinter in someone else’s. Therefore, I’m going to suggest that we approach this study from a personal, introspective direction before trying to gain ammunition against our spouses or friends.
Yes, this material will definitely help us identify other False Parents, but we always need to start with our own hearts. If it will help you, our second TLP episode ever was called “Why Is It Always About Me?," and it goes into much more detail about the reality that God wants to use everything in our lives to sanctify us. You can find a link for that episode in the description.
So, with that said, we could have entitled this episode something like “Are You a False Parent?” or “How to Know if You’re a False Parent.” But I’m unsure how many people would have listened had I done that.
Okay, now we need to ask, “What’s the difference between defining and identifying?”
As an example, it’s one thing to be told about kinds of honeybees, but — given a selection of different breeds — most people aren’t going to be able to tell an Italian honeybee from a Carniolan. They have a definition, but they can’t make the identification.
I — on the other hand — can identify them pretty easily because I keep bees, and I’ve looked at hundreds of thousands of both species. I also prefer Carniolans over the Italian variety, so I can spot those very easily.
And that’s what we want to be able to do today. We want to go past the definition and discover what False Parenting actually looks like in real life.
And to do so, we need to allow the Scripture to paint the picture for us.
So, let’s start with a quick review and jump into the new material.
1. False Parents claim to speak for God, but they don’t.
In Jeremiah 14:14 we read, “Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.’”
This is precisely the problem with False Parenting. God has called all parents to bring our kids up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, but False Parenting substitutes God’s message for another.
And, remember, False Parenting doesn’t have to be intentional. We can easily do it accidentally.
Therefore, we can’t simply assume that because we think we’re not deliberately leading our kids astray that we’re not unintentionally leading them astray.
That’s why the rest of the today’s points are so important. We need to compare our parenting to what God says about False Parents.
And that’s why we have to start by dealing with . . .
2. False Parents have wrong motivations.
We’ve talked about this so much, but if you still haven’t gone back to listen to The Merest Christianity Series, you really, really need to. That series helps us understand that our motivation is the most important thing about us. Why we do what we do is actually more important than what we do.
I’ll include a link to that series in the description of today’s episode when you’re ready to check it out.
The point is, we need to ask ourselves why we parent the way we do. This can be a broad observation about our parenting in general, or it can be our specific motivation in a unique parenting context.
So, what might a bad motivation be?
Isaiah 56:10-12, “His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; 11 And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. 12 ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so.’”
Here we see False Teachers . . .
Every time we speak for self instead of God, we’re seeking our own way and leaning on our own understanding.
Most of us are probably not parenting for personal financial gain, but I believe we seek our own pleasures far too often in our parenting.
For example, my kids are fighting, and it’s really annoying, and I want them to stop, so I shout down the hall, “Hey, you two, cut it out!”
That was False Parenting.
That statement clearly communicated to them, “We’d better stop because we’re upsetting Dad.” But it shouldn’t be about me! Our children aren’t commanded to obey their parents for their parents’ sake. They’re to obey their parents for God’s sake. They’re to obey their parents in the Lord.
My “parenting” in that moment had nothing to do with their responsibility to love and obey God.
This is exactly the problem in Jeremiah 23:9-40, “As for the prophets: My heart is broken within me, All my bones tremble; I have become like a drunken man, Even like a man overcome with wine, Because of the Lord And because of His holy words.”
Jeremiah is explaining how the wickedness of the prophets is affecting him. It’s like he can’t even stand up straight.
And then he explains the root of the situation starting in verse 10, “For the land is full of adulterers. . . ’For both prophet and priest are polluted; Even in My house I have found their wickedness,’ declares the Lord.”
The biblical picture of adultery is often used to describe idolatry. God’s people are cheating on Him when they make their way more important than His.
When I parent for me, I’m cheating on God. I’m being a False Parent, and I’m being wicked.
But you may ask, “What if I’m using the Bible to parent? And what if I change my tone? That’s guaranteed to change my motivation right?"
Yes, I could stick my head out of my room and say, “Hey, kids, you’re being selfish and not trying to serve others. Please be quiet so I can get my work done.”
How could my motivation still be wrong?
Consider Mark 7:6, “And He said to them, 'Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors ME with their lips, But their heart is far away from ME. 7 ‘But in vain do they worship ME, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’’”
Our lips can frame the words, our voices may adopt an acceptable tone, and we can outline the passages, but that doesn’t mean our hearts are in tune with God’s.
Let’s look at the passage in Isaiah that Jesus was quoting. Isaiah 29:13 reads, “Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.”
“Their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.”
Our parenting absolutely has to be more than something we learned by rote. It needs to be more than superficial applications of the parenting content we’ve learned. We have to have a God-focused motivation.
If we parent for our own desires and wishes and wants and pleasures, God actually commands His people to avoid us.
Romans 16:17-18, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
Let’s be honest, we — far too often — parent according to our own appetites. We want our kids to be or do or say or feel something, so we do whatever it takes to get them to do what we want them to do. But that’s not how we’ve learned Christ!
You need to investigate your parental motivations the next time you teach or reprove your kids. Ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you’re doing it the way you’re doing it. Perhaps you will discover that you’re a False Parent.
And, let’s be honest, parenting like this isn’t merely a simple mistake. Whether we mean to or not, parents who carelessly claim that God wants their kids to do certain things that are not clearly taught in Scripture should be identified as a False Parent.
3. False Parents are presumptuous.
Merriam-Webster defines presumptuous as “overstepping due bounds” or “taking liberties.”
Basically, a False Parent put words in God’s mouth, and that’s never a good idea.
In Deuteronomy 4:2 God says, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
Have you ever told your kids that cleanliness is next to godliness? Have you ever told them that God just wants them to be happy? Have you taught your kids that God is pleased by external obedience?
Consider Deuteronomy 18:20-22, “But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”
If God hasn’t said it, we’d better not put those words in His mouth.
And I’m afraid that we do that far more often than we think.
If you look at your parenting and can’t find actual Bible to back it up, you’ve likely been presumptuous.
But the real issue with what we’ve seen so far is that . . .
4. False Parents contradict the Scriptures.
And isn’t this what I said last time? How will we know that a prophet is false? We’ll know by comparing it to what God says. If he contradicts the word, He’s a False Prophet, and the same goes for False Parenting.
II Peter 2:1 talks about those who “secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them.”
II Timothy 4:4 describes False Teachers who “turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
Of those who contradict Scripture, in I Timothy 6:3-4 Paul says, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words.”
In fact, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus specifically to “instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies.”
Colossians 2:8 warns us, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul exclaims, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.”
And then he says, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
And in II Corinthians 11:4 Paul uses some sanctified sarcasm when he warns, “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”
If what we’re saying to our kids doesn’t conform to the teachings of God, we’re False Parents. If we’re not leading our kids to faithfully follow Christ, we’re False Parents.
But what if you don’t talk about God at all?
Let’s use the previous example. What if your kids are being unkind to each other and you step in by gently admonishing them to be nice because that’s how they would want to be treated or because no one will want to play with them if they can’t learn to be nicer?
What you’re saying is accurate. It may even be considered a good idea by some.
But here’s the problem . . . you’re using pragmatism to motivate your kids. Pragmatism is the Failure Philosophy that claims that the ends justify the means. It argues that if how I parent gets my kids to do something “good,” then what I did was good.
Of course, you can see the breakdown really quickly. If my kids do what I say because I lock them in a box when they don’t, now — all of a sudden — we’re not okay with pragmatism.
But the real problem with this goes back to our motivation. In the same way that parenting for my own pleasure is a sin against God, my children are still sinning if they’re nice to each other for their own pleasure.
We deal with this extensively in our Children and Security episode of The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face Series.
If my kids are nice to avoid consequences or because they want their sibling to treat them well or because they hope that people will want to play with them . . . their own pleasure and satisfaction and comfort are their motivation, not God.
Now, if you’re confused about this principle, I strongly encourage you to listen to The Merest Christianity Series or the Teach Your Children to Obey Series. Both of those will step you through the biblical passages that unpack this concept.
Either way, no, you can’t say that parenting your children to do good things for godless reasons isn’t contradicting Scripture. It is — in fact — contradicting all of the passages that teach us that God should be the sole motivation and focus and reason for all that we do.
Now, let’s look at the flip side of this coin, if our parenting isn’t being informed by the Bible, it’s being informed by something else.
That’s why it’s important to observe that . . .
5. False Parents get their authority from sources other than God.
It’s very unlikely that you get your parenting advice from an astrological guidebook or practicing spiritist, but some people do just that.
Isaiah 8:19-22 reads, “When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony!”
However, the real issue here is not that the Jews were consulting witches, the issue was that they weren’t consulting God. It doesn’t really matter who the source of counsel is if it’s not God.
For us in our modern day context, it’s probably more likely that you may have gleaned some of your “parenting wisdom” from Drs. Spock or Phil. Or maybe you like to read secular parenting books and immerse yourself in pop-psychology practices.
This is why in Colossians 2:8 Paul warns us to, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
It doesn’t matter if the teaching feels right or seems like it may work. It doesn’t matter if it makes pragmatic sense. Does it conform to God’s Word?
I don’t care if the idea of discipline-less parenting sounds like a great idea; it contradicts God’s Word and grows from elementary traditions of men.
It doesn’t matter that worldly professionals have convinced the whole world that there’s nothing more important for our kids than self-esteem . . . it’s not biblical.
Now, sometimes we fall into False Parenting because we didn’t realize that the popular parent guides of the day were contradicting God, but sometimes we actually pursue pop-parenting precisely because we don’t want to parent the way God commands.
And I know there are some of you out there listening to my voice. You really like some of what God has to say, but when God’s Word contradicts the worldly parenting advice that you like better, you deliberately dismiss it, but you don’t feel like you’re doing a disservice to God because you make the claim that “Things are different now.”
But as we already saw, in II Timothy 4:3-4 God describes this practice in this way: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
But even though we may be tempted to get our parenting methods from the horoscope or from secular “experts,” I think the most dangerous category is when we take our parenting advice from people who are themselves False Teachers.
Galatians 1 gives us a picture of people who contradicted God’s Word because they ignorantly followed someone who claimed to speak for God, but didn’t.
This is why Paul is so vehement that, “If we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
Those of us who are serious about being biblically informed in our parenting may turn on a podcast or purchase a book or watch a YouTube video from someone claiming to be a Christian. But — if we’re not discerning and careful — we may accept their False Teaching as truth.
A False Teacher may try to convince us that Psalm 13:13-14 teaches that God wants our kids to have good self-esteem.
Psalm 13:13-14 is a very familiar passage. It reads, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”
And, yes, there are professing Christians who believe that the world’s definition of self-esteem is found in this passage. They take a passage that should drive our focus to God’s beauty, power, majesty, and love, but instead it’s twisted to make us feel good because we’re wonderfully made.
This is exactly why Luke speaks so highly of the people who lived in Berea. In Acts 17:11 he said, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”
And I John 4:1 tells us “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Listen, my friends, you have my full permission to pick apart absolutely everything I say. Seriously! Compare it to God’s Word. Make sure I’m not misrepresenting what God says. Keep me accountable by making certain that I’m not claiming to speak for God and yet speaking my own wisdom instead.
And — if you discover that I am mishandling Scripture — please let me know!
But I believe you’ll find that what I’m teaching is not inconsistent with the Scriptures.
But there are a lot . . . and I mean a lot of False Teachers out there who claim to speak for God, but they patently are not. And if we follow their advice, we too will become False Teachers and False Parents.
Okay, we’re half way through. If you need to stop for any reason, this may be the time to do it.
Alright, moving on, when we do this, when we jettison God’s Truth for the Failure Philosophies of others, we’re relying on our own understanding.
6. False Parents make it about their authority.
Jeremiah 5:30-31, “An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?”
I mentioned The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face Series during the first half of this episode, and I want to take a minute to clarify one of the concepts we learned in that series.
If we take any of our parenting whatsoever, we can reverse engineer it pretty easily to discover the root of it all. If my parenting contradicts Scripture, it’s because (consciously or subconsciously) we don’t want to submit to God’s authority. And we don’t want to submit to His authority because we believe we can parent our kids on our own. We believe in our own parenting autonomy. And we believe we don’t need anyone else to parent our kids well because we have our own plan, and we believe that our plan has been successful to one degree or another. We’re satisfied that we’re doing a good job.
By the way, let me take a rabbit trail here real quick. This is why people don’t look for parenting help until things go wrong. As long as they’re getting the outcome they desire, most parents aren’t interested in parenting advice. However, they look for help when they finally recognize that they’ve failed. Of course, they needed help a long time ago, but they’re only just figuring it out.
Anyway, as long as most parents are satisfied that their parenting is working, they will continue using everything in their toolbox to parent the way they want.
And the very deepest root reason we do this has everything to do with our identity. Do we see ourselves as people who have this parenting thing down and don’t need anyone else’s input because we’re sufficient in and of ourselves to provide our own satisfaction? Or do we identify as sinners desperately in need of a Savior and spiritual weaklings desperately in need of empowerment? Are we autonomous lords of our domain, or are we spiritually destitute followers of Christ.
How we identify will determine if we’re True Parents or False Parents.
The Jeremiah 5 passage we just read pulls back all of the facade and shows us that False Parenting always grows from the fact that we have decided that what we want and how we want it is all that matters in our parenting.
Even our last point about deriving our parenting wisdom from secular authorities is still us flexing our own authority. Despite what God has said about following people who contradict the Scripture, we have decided that we should follow those people.
Okay, now as we attempt to identify False Parenting in our lives, I recognize that these first points may have seemed a little more theoretical and less practical. Trust me, they weren’t, but I understand how motivations can be difficult to identify.
However, regardless of how you felt about the first few points, these last ones will be more evidently practical.
7. False Parents don’t expose sin and its roots.
This one should be pretty easy to spot in yours or someone else’s parenting.
Lamentations 2:14 says, “Your prophets have seen for you False and foolish visions; And they have not exposed your iniquity So as to restore you from captivity, But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.”
God’s Word is abundantly clear about sin. It does a great job defining it and identifying it and providing instruction to help us turn from it.
But we get into A LOT of trouble when we say that something isn’t a sin that God clearly calls a sin, or when we call something a sin that God’s doesn’t.
I alluded to this earlier in our discussion of self-esteem. The world would very much like to contradict everything the Bible says about sin. They want us to believe the only sin is believing in sin in the first place.
But that is clearly False Teaching because it contradicts God’s Word.
So, let me ask you, in your parenting, do you biblically deal with your kids’ sin and the roots of that sin?
In my previous example of my kids being unkind to each other, it’s easy to make my parenting about me. If I can just get them to be quiet, all will be right in the world. Of course, I can also admonish them to be kind to each other because that’s what God wants. And — you know what — that’s not a bad start, but if all I do is point them to the desired behavior without ever addressing what’s really wrong with the negative behavior, I’m doing them a huge disservice.
Now, I know there are so-called “experts” out there who would have us believe that we should always talk about the positive behavior we want to see and not talk about the negative behavior. But that’s not biblical.
In fact — as I mentioned earlier — it’s actually damaging. Allow me to explain.
Let’s say that I’m training you to be a soldier, and there’s this really pivotal step in firing the grenade launcher, but you don’t want to do that step because you’ve convinced yourself that’s it’s unnecessary and stupid. Well, if all I ever do is encourage you to remember the step without addressing the consequences of your wrong attitude, you’re likely going to blow yourself up.
I know it’s an extreme example, but the point is that our kids are in a spiritual war. Satan wants to eat them alive, and it’s not good enough to encourage them to do right when they don’t even understand why what they’re doing is wrong.
This is why Jesus — in the Sermon on the Mount — starts with our sin. We will never hunger and thirst after righteousness until we have a relationship with Christ, but we won’t be able to do that until we approach Him meekly, but we’re not going to do that until we’ve recognized that we’re spiritually destitute and grieved to our core about that reality.
No alcoholic is going to seek help until they realize they have a problem, and no human is going to seek a Savior until they realize they’re a sinner.
False Parents rarely talk about sin and the roots of that sin.
If your parenting avoids those discussions, you’re a False Parent.
But False Parents aren’t merely recognizable by their parenting . . .
8. False Parents are recognizable by their whole life.
I’ve frequently said that there is no sin that doesn’t affect our entire being. You will never be an absolute angel in every other facet of your life, but struggle with this “one sin” in this “one area” of your life.
If you have a preacher who seems to do a great job, but he never responds well when corrected . . . you can be certain that sin has threaded itself through absolutely everything else he is and does.
A child who gets great grades and does his chores and is nice to his siblings and is a hard worker and respectful and everything else, but who has a habit of looking at pornography — you can be sure the root of that sin has infected everything else in his life.
This is why the Bible is so robust about the lifestyles of False Teachers. Now, as we read these passages, please don’t dismiss them because everything in the passage doesn’t apply to you equally. These lists are not an all or nothing. In fact, if even one of the things on these lists is true of you, it may be an evidence of the fact that you have some False Parenting problems, and I’ll illustrate this in a minute.
Matthew 7:15-23 says, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
And then comes the verses we’ve discussed so often. “21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from ME, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Okay, so what are these bad fruits? What is this lawlessness?
Matthew 24:11-12 reveals one important one, “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”
Unloving parents are False Parents. If you’re having a hard time identifying your motivation, and you use words that come from the Scriptures, but you have close friends and family who regularly question your love and compassion and care for your kids . . . you can probably mark it down that you frequently fall into False Parenting.
And this is true even if you honestly believe that you desperately love your kids, but you’re unloving to everyone else in your life. That’s not possible. You can’t biblically love your children and unbiblically hate everyone else. Whatever it is that you think you feel for your kids is very likely motivated by the same sinful root as the hatred you show to everyone else.
Moving on, Luke 6:26 says, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.”
This ties back into our previous points about following the world. If you’re in lock-step with the world system, they will parade you; they will applaud you. But if the world is fully onboard with your parenting, you can be certain that there are very false elements of your parenting.
And then we have II Timothy 3:1-17 which includes a very long list. Remember, though, any one of these character traits could likely reveal that you do slip into False Parenting at least from time to time.
“1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
Now, that’s bad enough as it is, but remember when I said that we can be a False Parent and not realize it? Yeah, well the very next verse says that the same people from this list are, “5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.”
This is a perfect summation of everything we’ve discussed so far. If you have an arrogance problem, it will come out in your parenting and that will result in False Parenting. If you are ungrateful, you will slip into False Parenting. If you are a gossip, you’re a False Parent.
But then Paul continues, “6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.”
I read that last part because we have to recognize the exceedingly dangerous trajectory of sin.
And there are so many other passages we could read that detail exactly how False Teachers live. And — remember — the idea is that a False Teacher’s False Teaching will be revealed by the fruits of their lives.
It doesn’t matter how good their teaching sounds, you will know them by their lifestyle.
You can identify False Parenting in you and others simply by acknowledging consistent sin patterns in your life. Your unrepentant sins — in any area of your life — are going to fuel your False Parenting . . . every time.
And this leads us to our final point. And — unfortunately — this point may feel the most depressing.
How can you tell which army has the most problems in their communication? You can tell by which army lost, which army has the most dead soldiers, and which army’s government was just overthrown.
Remember how I said that most people don’t look for parenting advice until it’s too late. Well . . .
9. False Parents experience the consequences of False Parenting.
If you’re honestly having a hard time truly identifying in your life any of the previous eight markers of a False Parent, that may mean one of two things.
A. You likely do a mostly great job parenting your kids for Christ. Of course, you’re not perfect, but you’re doing a really good job by the grace and to the glory of God.
But B. It can also mean that you’re so blind to your problems that you’re incapable of seeing your own False Parenting.
And — trust me — more people do this than you realize.
I have met with and counseled so many people who are clearly living in defiance to God’s Word, but they don’t see it.
So, this is what I say to those people. “Look at this like a science experiment. If a balloon flies into the sky, it has helium in it. If it falls to the ground, it has oxygen in it. No one’s going to argue that a newly filled balloon that will not rise into the air is filled with helium. We can tell by the effects of gravity on the balloon what’s inside. So, I want you to do a similar experiment with your life. You say you’re living a life that pleases God. If that’s so, then your life should be filled with the outcomes and consequences of someone who’s pleasing God. But, if you look at your life and see the consequences that only come from sinning against God, you need to accept that your balloon isn’t filled with what you think it is.”
Here’s the thing, my friends, if God gives us a conditional promise that He will provide when we do our part, He’s not going to provide if we don’t do our part.
In II Corinthians 11:13-15 Paul says, “13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”
You cannot escape the consequences of being a False Parent. It will come.
But what are the consequences? Well, we’ve already looked at a lot of them. We saw how God reacts to them, we’ve seen how the church is commanded to respond to them, and we’ve seen a number of scary outcomes for the False Teachers and their followers — including coming to the understanding that they were never born again and being ushered into the Lake of Fire.
But I want to drive this home just a little more. What kind of consequences will there be in our lives that will reveal that we are False Parents?
And for that, I want to look at Jeremiah 23:9-40. If you’re following along, just know that I’m going to jump around little bit.
“As for the prophets . . . the land is full of adulterers; For the land mourns because of the curse. The pastures of the wilderness have dried up. Their course also is evil And their might is not right. 11 ‘For both prophet and priest are polluted; Even in My house I have found their wickedness,’ declares the Lord.’”
False Parenting leads to mourning, evil, lack of spiritual power to do right and wickedness.
Continuing on, “12 “‘Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them, They will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it; For I will bring calamity upon them, The year of their punishment,’ declares the Lord.”
I know there’s a lot of potential subjectivity to this descriptions. What does it mean for your way to be like a slippery path? Well, I believe the rest of the Scriptures do a perfect job describing that. My point is, if you feel like you just can’t make any headway in your parenting, it may be because you’re doing a great job, but your kids hate God and everything to do with Him. Or it may be because your False Parenting is actually instilling in your kids the very things that make it hard to parent them.
A perfect example of this is a False Parent who makes their parenting all about their expectations. If you can parent according to your own desires, why can’t your kids live according to theirs? If you don’t have to submit to God in your parenting, why do you kids have to submit to you?
It’s so easy for our False Parenting to create a slippery path where we actually hand our kids all of the reasons not to listen to us.
But there are other consequences outlined in this passage.
“13 Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. 14 “Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
One of the consequences of False Parenting is that intentionally or unintentionally we will actually encourage our kids to wrong.
Again, I’ve already illustrated this in many ways, but an all-too common example would be telling our kids to follow their hearts. That is a horrible thing. It’s spiritual adultery. We should be following God’s heart. Out hearts are wicked and deceitful.
Whether you’re prophesying for Baal or for Disney, the consequences are going to be the same.
Okay, now the next part continues like this. I’m starting with verse 15. “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets, ‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood And make them drink poisonous water, For from the prophets of Jerusalem Pollution has gone forth into all the land.’”
I understand how this one may be difficult to apply directly, but the image I want us to have is that if we are False Parents, we’ll find ourselves in situations for which we’ll receive no spiritual refreshment, nourishment, or empowerment. God is not going to empower us to sin against Him. Therefore, if you feel like God is a million miles away, and He’s not listening to your prayers or giving you the promises He’s outlined in Scripture . . . it may be because you’re a False Parent.
But there’s another consequences of False Parenting. That consequence is that those who are doing their best to follow Christ won’t listen to you or respect your advice.
“16 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, ‘You will have peace’’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’”
God doesn’t want your kids, the people in your small group, or your friends to follow in your parenting footsteps if you’re a False Parent.
If you tell people who are in sin that there will be no consequences for that sin, you’re lying, and no one should listen to you.
Do you have mature believers who don’t seem to want to take your advice when it comes to parenting? It could even be that your older, more spiritually mature children are having a hard time really submitting to your advice because it’s simply not biblical.
That’s a consequence of being a False Parent.
In verse 19 we read, “Behold, the storm of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, Even a whirling tempest; It will swirl down on the head of the wicked. 20 “The anger of the Lord will not turn back Until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; In the last days you will clearly understand it. 21 “I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied.”
Now let’s jump to verse 33, “Now when this people or the prophet or a priest asks you saying, ‘What is the oracle of the Lord?’ then you shall say to them, ‘What oracle?’ The Lord declares, ‘I will abandon you.’ 34 Then as for the prophet or the priest or the people who say, ‘The oracle of the Lord,’ I will bring punishment upon that man and his household. 35 Thus will each of you say to his neighbor and to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 For you will no longer remember the oracle of the Lord, because every man’s own word will become the oracle, and you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you will say to that prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 For if you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ surely thus says the Lord, ‘Because you said this word, “The oracle of the Lord!” I have also sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’”’ 39 Therefore behold, I will surely forget you and cast you away from My presence, along with the city which I gave you and your fathers. 40 I will put an everlasting reproach on you and an everlasting humiliation which will not be forgotten.””
If you are experiencing the wrath of God in your life. You’re a False Parent.
Now, as we come to a close, I have to be clear — lest I become a False Teacher myself — that the specific applications of the unique blessings and curses for the Old Testament Jews do not apply to New Testament believers.
In the same way we can’t claim physical prosperity as a mark of being a follower of Christ simply because God promised that to the Jews, we also shouldn’t think that the unique physical curses God spoke specifically against the ancient Israelites will apply to us either.
But the Bible does paint a very clear picture of what it looks like for someone to experience the wrath of God.
Romans 1 gives us a very scary picture of what it looks like to be the recipient of the wrath of God.
Verser 18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
And then the passage exemplifies for us part of that wrath. Three times in the passage it explains how God will give those people up. And what was the consequence of God giving them up? Sin flourished more and more and more in their lives.
If you’re in the middle of experiencing the wrath of God in your life, you likely won’t see it. But, for a moment, step outside of yourself and look for the consequences in your life that are directly tied to your sin.
Do you sneak pornography? If so, there are very real and tangible relational consequences in your marriage. A trained biblical counselor could see it a mile away.
Are you a liar? Then you are definitely feeling the pressure of the consequences in your life. And God wants to use those consequences to open your eyes and bring you back to Him, but if you continue to fight for your own way, you will slide deeper and deeper into that sin and be swallowed up by the consequences of them.
And by then being a False Parent may be the least of your concerns.
The chapter finishes like this, “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
Now, praise God that His wrath is often postponed. He gives grace and mercy to us to draw us to Himself, but — one day — the full weight of His wrath will fall.
And all unbelievers, no matter how spiritual they think they are, will be eternally separated from God.
May we discover our sins and our False Parenting and run back to God long before we find ourselves in that most desperate state.
So, how will you identify False Parenting in your life?
Well, False Parents claim to speak for God, but they don’t. That means that they’re presumptuously pursuing their own desires, and — in so doing — they contradict God’s Word as they root their parenting in worldly sources. And they do this because they are their own parenting authority — what they want is all that matters. And because of this they don’t talk about sin from a biblical perspective, and their whole life is a testament to their lawlessness. And — in the most dire circumstances — everyone but they can easily see the numerous consequences of their False Parenting flooding into their lives.
That’s how to identify a False Parent.
Lord willing, your False Parenting isn’t continual. Hopefully, you — like I — slip into False Parenting only from time to time as we give into self-worship. But also hopefully, we eventually recognize our sin and fall on our faces before God and those against whom we’ve sinned and we confess, apologize, and repent.
Hopefully, that’s the case.
But, don’t be self-assured. Truly investigate your life and parenting.
Also, don’t think that occasional False Parenting isn’t as bad as continual False Parenting, so you don’t have to worry as much about it.
My friends, all False Parenting is an abomination before God. He hates when people claim to speak for Him, but contradict Him in the process. And there will always be consequences when we do that.
I’ve known very moral, very spiritually minded, very biblically-knowledgable people who very often parented well. But there were consistent areas in their lives where they were False Parents, and — here’s the thing — sinful kids are far more interested in following the False Parenting than they are the Godly Parenting. That means that a teaspoon of False Parenting could influence your kids way more than a barrel of Christ-Honoring Parenting.
My point is that we must realize that any and all False Parenting in our lives is a sin.
And that’s why on our next episode we’re going to talk about help for False Parents.
I hope you’re looking forward to that as much as I am.
In the meantime, please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets and reach out to us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or give us a call at (828) 423-0894 if you’d like individualized help for your own False Parenting.
Lastly, I hope you’ll join us next time as we once again open God’s Word to discover how to parent our children for life and godliness.
To that end, we’ll be discussing Helping False Parents.
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