Is it loving or unloving to put limits on your children, yourself, or others? Do we encroach on individual rights when we say, “No”?
My eyes must have widened when a mother with young children mentioned, “According to a parenting book, we shouldn’t tell our children ‘No.’ They hear it enough in the world, and you want your home to be a happy place.”
Some of you may remember First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no,” campaign to stop the illicit use of drugs. When that failed perhaps the pendulum swung to “never say no.”
Years later, government agencies now keep parents from knowing about their children’s health and conduct at school. Guarding a child’s privacy matters more to them than protecting the child. Yet that same government makes us wear seatbelts. Don’t our eternal souls and general health deserve the same care?
Our Heavenly Father Sets Loving Limits with Us
Trends change with the culture. How do we know what’s best?
We follow our heavenly Father’s example and script given in Scripture (Ps. 119:105). The Father tells His beloved children “No” to lots of things. Look at Jesus’s words.
“And Jesus said to him, … ‘No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, “Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother’”” (Mark 10:18-20 NASB 1995).
Only God is good, and He shows that saying “No” demonstrates real care. To say, “Do whatever you feel like,” is not loving. We all need need limits and guidance to protect us from self-destructive leanings.
“And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
‘My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child’” (Hebrews 12:5-6 NLT).
The Security of Loving Limits
Regarding the security limits bring, years ago Dr. James Dobson shared an interesting finding. At recess, children at schools without a fenced-in area clung near the building. When a fence was added, the children spread out and enjoyed the whole school yard.
When my friend Linda Goldfarb teaches parents about setting limits, she asks a volunteer to come to the front of the room. She tells the parent to follow the voice that will call her to the back of the room. Then she turns out the light. In the pitch-black darkness, the parent soon admits defeat.
Linda turns on the light and leads the parent to the wall. “Put your hand on the wall and follow it.” She turns out the light again, and the designated speaker calls to the parent. This time, by following the wall the parent safely moves through the darkness to the back of the room.
Both adults and children find solace in guidelines, structure, and boundaries. We won’t stumble in a dark world when we adhere to God’s steadfast limits. And when the world crashes in, like a good seatbelt, God’s boundaries provide unwavering protection.Both adults and children find solace in guidelines, structure, and boundaries. We won’t stumble in a dark world when we adhere to God’s steadfast limits. #bigGod, #wisdom Click To Tweet
Little Strength, Big God
Little Strength, Big God is an interactive Bible study guide for Christian living. Let the men and women in Hebrews 11 inspire and lead you. To learn more about Little Strength, Big God go to BigGod.us.