Displeasing Your Children

His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” ESV 1 Kings 1:6

I’ll admit I’m a pushover, especially when it comes to my kids. I want them to be happy, and generally, if I can do it, I’ll do whatever they ask. With five little ones constantly asking for things, it often leaves me quite exhausted at the end of the day, after life guarding at the pool, shuttling friends around, doling out ice cream, checking purchase ideas on Amazon, reading books to them, wrestling and making pancakes and waffles simultaneously. At the end of these days, I often feel worse when I remember the story of David’s son Adonijah.

According to the verse above, David acted much like me when it came to his son Adonijah. Apparently he never wanted to tell him no, or even question his actions. Adonijah grew up spoiled. So it comes as no surprise, that after Absalom’s failed revolt Adonijah not only refused to learn from his brother’s error, but decided to lead a revolt himself. Interestingly enough, his father who never had the guts to stand up to him as a child, didn’t have the guts to stand up to him as an adult. David fled. The kingdom nearly crumbled. And it all resulted from David’s poor parenting. He never wanted to question Adonijah’s actions. He never told him “No.” He never displeased him.

If this doesn’t strike fear in you, nothing will. If it doesn’t make you want to spend all day tomorrow saying “No” to every request, then you are missing something. If if doesn’t empower you to poke and pry into every aspect of their days and decisions, I don’t know how to motivate you. You see, part of our children’s spiritual formation involves their learning to submit to us, even when we say “No.” After all, they will hear that from God a lot. If they can’t learn to hear “No” from us, they won’t be able to hear it from God. And if they aren’t used to us prying into their actions and decisions, they won’t allow God to either. And if they become that proud and arrogant, they will end up like Adonijah–dead. May we draw courage from the story of David and Adonijah to question our children, to say no, to displease them…and save their lives!

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