A message to all imperfect parents: Children are not trophies of our accomplishments


Imperfect parenting is more common than we think. It's so common that every parent is guilty of it. That's right, this message to imperfect parents goes out to all parents because we're all imperfect parents who need the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Psalm 127:3-5 tells us, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

Children are not rewards in the sense that they are trophies of our accomplishments, but that they are prizes freely given to us from God despite of our imperfections. As parents, we fail at many times to give guidance, provide amply or exemplify faith to our children. But even in our failure, God fills the gaps we cannot fill and blesses us and our children that we may receive fullness.

Children were made for God's pleasure and honour, not ours

For many people, parenting becomes a brand that they wear. We often judge parents according to the parenting style and parenting effectiveness they carry out. Many parents want their children to be good because they will reflect how good they are and how much honour they will bring them.

Note, however, that Psalm 127:3 tells us that children are a heritage that come from the Lord, meaning they are gifts that come to us by grace. We don't become parents because of how good we are with discipline, finances or education, but because God is most honoured when we receive the free gift that is parenting. That means that no matter what brand of parenting you think you wear, you will fall short at some point, but God in His unlimited grace fills us where we lack.

Jesus is the only perfecter

As parents, we need more grace than more expertise, and we need more of Jesus than more of the world. The world wants you to believe that you are only as good as a parent as the results your children bear, that unless your children get high grades, behave in public, memorise Bible verses and so on, then we have failed as parents.

All these things are wonderful, don't get me wrong. But they are simply external things. God looks not at the external but at the matters of the heart for both children and parents. And what God longs to see is a heart humble before God, admitting the imperfections we have as parents and the need for Jesus to fill us where we fail.

2 Corinthians 12:10 says, "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Where we fail as imperfect parents, Jesus becomes the fullness we and our children need to become the family God wants us to be.