No, not a firing squad, but target practice. As I stand back fifty feet from a target, my first thought is, “How hard could this be?” However, I must consider wind, forearm angle, bow
tension for velocity, etc. The same attention to detail is demanded in leading our families. Everything is grappling for an influence on your family—entertainment, culture, government, friends, church. How do you work with so many influences? You’ve probably heard the statement, “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” This is the key in family issues. Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child’s Heart said, “Parents tend to focus on the externals of behavior…We tend to worry more about the ‘what’ of behavior than the ‘why’…Most of us spend energy…controlling behavior…we miss the heart” (xi). In other words we look at our family and address entertainment or standards, but we forget the heart is the issue. Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Here are three great points Tedd Trip mentions regarding missing the target—THE HEART.
1. When we miss the heart, we miss the subtle idols of the heart.
“When parenting short-circuits to behavior we miss…that straying behavior displays a straying heart” (xi). Your actions declare what you worship. If your life is characterized with self, sports, Hollywood, career, even family, then that is what you worship. Jesus Christ exposed the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34b “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” The actions that pour from your child demonstrate the idol of their heart.
2. When we miss the heart, we miss the gospel.
Now that we understand the problem is issues of the heart, we have highlighted the need for grace. “Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life and died as an infinite sacrifice so…[we] can be forgiven, transformed, liberated and empowered to love God and love others” (xii). Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Behavior modification will only miss the point that there is a sin issue. Only through the grace of Christ can that heart be transformed.
3. When we miss the heart, we miss the glory of God.
Often seeing our children saved is our climax in the rearing process. However, what do you do with the next 10+ years? The climax is not salvation. Rather, it is to “tear down the high places…to enthrone God” in your child’s heart (xii). Children are pictured as arrows in the parents’ quiver. Once they are sent soaring from our home there is nothing else we can do. We must take these arrows and smooth the roughness away, set the feathers right, place the right tip, prepare for the release. 2 Timothy 3:17 “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.“