Bleeding KneeMy kids have fallen down- many times.  In fact it happened recently.  Noah fell and scraped up his elbow pretty badly.  When we were trying to bandage it up he said, “IT BURNS LIKE LAVA!”  Ah to have the mind of a six year old again…

My kids have made mistakes.  They have written on walls, gotten pen on the couch, spilled milk, disobeyed, talked back, and been obstinate.  They have found that there is a whole lot of life that they want to explore and boundaries that they want to push.

These are the times as parents that are incredibly hard, right?  When your kid is in pain, pain so bad that it can only be likened to “burning like fire”, you want to take that away for them.  You wish that you could bear the pain on their behalf so that they didn’t have to feel it.  When I watch one of my kids fall, my whole body cringes, not because I am hurting, but because I know that they will be.

It is hard as a parent to watch and experience your children disobey, make poor decisions, and mistakes.  If you don’t believe me ask any parent of a teenager, they will tell you it is hard!

These are the moments when parenting is tough.

It is in these moments that parents have to step in and show their children that their is a better way.  There is a safer way to get from one side of the pool to the other than by running.  There is a reason why we don’t color with markers on the couch.  There is a reason why we eat over our plates.  All of this is for a reason.

When our children disobey, as parents we have to have the difficult discussion about why obedience is important.  We have to discuss why attitude is everything.  We have to talk about forgiveness.  We must teach our kids how to say sorry.  All of these things are important to teach lovingly and graciously to our children.

The Prophet Ezekiel

The Prophet Ezekiel by Michaelangelo

In the book of Ezekiel, God speaks through the prophet Ezekiel and tells his people that they haven’t been shepherding, or taking care of His people.  God reveals the condition of the shepherds heart as well as the condition of the flock.  Neither one is doing very well.

You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the disease you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.  They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.

~Ezekiel 34:3-5

God speaks through Ezekiel and is trying to get the attention of those who are taking care of God’s flock, or God’s people.  This passage is challenging to me both as a parent and as a pastor.  It makes me ask the question, am I caring for the people that God has entrusted to me?

What about you? I don’t care if you are a pastor, or a parent.  A father, or a friend.  Are you lovingly guiding and caring for those that God has placed in your life?  How do you help your kids, friends, etc… know that you care?

~Peter