The Messiness of Parenting (The Messiness of Love)

Messy Magnets PicJesus Magnets PicBack in July I posted something on my blog that was a “repost” of a well-written article about what the author, a popular blogger and pastor, would do if he found out one of his kids were gay. While I agree with his sentiment, and his best intentions to model love to his children, I decided it was best to take down the re-post and share some of my own thoughts instead.

This is kind of about parenting, but not really. It’s more about the space I’m trying to occupy as a father, and more importantly, as a follower of Jesus. This is kind of about the LGBT debate, but not really. It’s more about the language of love that I’m trying to learn as I humble myself and listen softer to the promptings of the Spirit.

When it comes to parenting, I know the kind of dad I want to be. I also know the kind of dad God has helped me to be thus far. I’m not perfect…but my kids know they can come to me with anything. My response will be the same, no matter what: “I’m here for you. I want you to know just how much you are loved. I’m  going to do whatever it takes to walk with you and help you experience the perfect love of God.”

How do I live all that out? What does it look like to walk with my kids through some of the hardest things of life? That’s where it gets messy.

We’re just gonna have to be okay with that.

Jesus knew a little something about messiness. Philippians 2:6 talks about how he left the glory of Heaven to enter into our messy, human experience. What could possibly compel him to do such a thing?

“I’ll take LOVE for $200, Alex.”

I recently heard an author/pastor say that love is the way we work out equal parts of grace and truth. I’d like to have both. I’d like grace and truth to embody the kind of love that Jesus modeled during his short time on earth – a love that chose to selflessly enter into our pain and brokenness, a love that graciously suffered in order to do something we could never do ourselves, a love that conquered death by bursting forth in resurrection life, a love that is freely given to ALL because we are ALL worth it!

Whatever the debate may be, as long as we reduce it down to “issues,” we will fail to see how it is really about people. People need to know we are truly listening, truly caring, truly recognizing them as fellow image-bearers of the One who made us.

John M. Perkins said, “We could think biblically. Think, with the Declaration of Independence, that all humankind—saved or unsaved—is created in the image of God and has inherent dignity. That all human beings bear the face of God, and then to treat them with dignity…That would be a language of love.” (Referenced 09/27/15: The Table: Issue 4: Spring 2015. http://cct.biola.edu/journal/article/2015/spring/john-perkins/)

Speaking a new language

For all the ways I have been unloving and unwelcoming, I want to say I’m sorry. For the many ways I have hindered others from experiencing the unexampled love of God, I am truly sorry. For all my knee-jerk reactions revealing my lack of compassion and empathy, I am deeply sorry. As long as I’m breathing, my aim and my goal is to become more like Christ. Sometimes I don’t look anything like him. That is deeply regrettable, but please don’t let it stop you from seeking Jesus and discovering what so many over the centuries have found to be true…

We are ALL dearly loved.


2 thoughts on “The Messiness of Parenting (The Messiness of Love)

  1. Hi Adam,

    This is third time today the Lord has reminded me of this word messy in regards to living life with others. What is funny is that for about 12 years now, I have had the word JESUS spelled on my refrigerator with cut out magnets that my oldest daughter brought home from church when she was 2. Over the last couple weeks I’ve been finding the letters mixed up attached to the letter M (College team Michigan) magnet that we have on the refrigerator. The new word was pointed out to me by my child who was doing it. They used the M, added the ess, and took the u and the J and made a y. So now my JESUS of 12 years spells MESSY on my refrigerator. I am learning that the messy with Jesus is really somehow better then the idealism I tend to desire. Hope you are well!

    Lynn

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