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Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, (Titus 2:3-4)
At first glance this verse might be easy to gloss over. Of course women love their children, I mean, they have a maternal instinct, don’t they? We may be inclined to think that this verse simply states the obvious, but does it? Ministering one day to an unmarried mother who was pregnant with twins, she, being uncertain as to whether or not she would abort them, exclaimed to me, “I hate these f*#$&!* babies!” This may sound shocking, and we would hope that this is an isolated case. However, in America today we have reported 638,169 unborn babies killed by abortions per year, (This is only data from states that report, some states such as California do not report), 2.9 million cases of child abuse, and 443,000 children at a minimum in the foster care system. This is the culture that we live in, and it’s mind is set on death. The argument could be made that we don’t instinctually and naturally love our children.
How did our society get to such a place where 3,981,169 of our own children are abused, neglected and tortured to death? These are symptoms of a sin sick world. We are all born in Adam under the curse of the fall, and this curse of sin has corrupted every aspect of the creation that we dwell in. Even the maternal instincts to nurture and protect the children that God has endowed us with have been contaminated by sin. Rather than praising Him for the blessing of our posterity, we call it a burden. We take it on ourselves to ascend God’s throne and we move heaven and hell to ensure that nothing will be an obstacle or inconvenience to our own lives and success. The tendency of our flesh is to love and serve our selves above all others. These, and all sins are crimes against a perfect and holy God, Who is just, and Who will by no means clear the guilty. Every sin must be paid for.
I would posit the argument that God, being omniscient, knowing that we are weak, and that we are but dust, born in the flesh, seeking to put our selves above all others, has given us wisdom and clear instruction from His Word. He seems to know that it is not natural to our fallen state to love our children. This has been the case since sin entered the world, it is nothing new. Adam and Eve took the fruit, and ate, doing what God had forbid, with no thought of the effects on all their descendants that the fall would have. But, with every temptation He has given us the way of escape.
Our first problem that must be addressed is the payment for sin. This can only be done through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. We must turn to Him in repentance, for forgiveness of our sin, believing that He is the Son of God. That He took sin upon Himself in our place, bearing the punishment that we deserve on the cross. Enduring the wrath of God, He lived, died, was buried, and has been resurrected to ascend on high, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Apart from the forgiveness freely offered by Christ, our sin earns us eternal torment in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. Our sins will be paid for, either by our own works, earning death and hell, or by Christ and His mediatorial work, earning life eternal and forgiveness.
In Christ we can truly come to know what it is love our children. As we walk in the newness of life we can begin the lifelong process of dying to self and living to Christ, and truly knowing what it means to love our neighbor as we love our selves. Our children, born and unborn, are our closest neighbors. Scripture instructs us “Older women…teaching what is good…so that they may encourage the young women…to love their children”. If you are a young woman I exhort you to find mature women in Christ, and follow them as they follow Christ.
There are many things that we could and should do in loving our children. We should be patient with them, just as God is patient with us. We should seek their highest good in all things. We should rejoice in love and and treat them justly. We should be quick to forgive, and not hold an account of their wrongs done. We should be likewise quick to ask for forgiveness when we have wronged them. We must know that they too, are born fallen, sinners, in need of the mercy, love, and forgiveness of Christ. Our children are eternal beings that have souls that will endure forever in heaven or hell. In all things we should model Christ for them. Not as a list of moral deeds to do or not do, but teaching them what it is to love God and love our neighbors, what it is to repent, and what it is to forgive. Our primary focus should be to instruct them in the admonition of the Lord. Doing all that we can to prepare them for heaven. “But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” “
To love does not always come easily, each one of us has opportunities daily for frustration, disappointment, anger, or sadness. Our lives are filled with trials and tribulations, and it doesn’t take much to find that in our own power we are quickly overwhelmed. Often in the hectic moments of daily life – when what we think we need is for the baby to stop crying, the dishwasher not to flood- we can overlook our true need, which is for God to help us. In our frustrations and difficulties, He is right there with us. He is ready and willing to give us His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. We need only to ask. What do you find yourself struggling with today that is interfering with your ability to love well? Pray, asking the Lord for His help, and rest in knowing that He is faithful to give mercy and help in times of need.