walk in the word
Family, Reassurance of Faith, Your Walk With God
What is it that you need from your parents more than anything else?
As the father of teenagers, I wonder if they would answer “cash” to that question.
Joking aside, I believe that deep within the heart of every person is a longing for parental approval—for a confidence that my mom and my dad know me, love me, value me, and are proud of me.
Whether it’s the preschooler who calls out from the sandbox, “Mom, look what I’ve made,” to the fifth-grader who fidgets and bows his head nervously as Dad opens the report card and looks down at the grades, to the high school girl who appears, bouncing in the kitchen with her prom dress on, and says, “Dad, how do I look?” to the adult who can’t wait for Mom and Dad to see the new house or the new car or the new baby.
I’ve heard people say, “I don’t need my parents’ approval. It’s not important to me. I’ve never experienced it and I’ve survived just fine.” I have also seen those people go from insecurity to confidence and from depression to happiness when they have finally received their parents’ blessing. I’ve heard people say angrily, “I don’t want it! I don’t care about it! I’ve tried and it’s not coming and I don’t care anymore!” I’ve seen those same people fly across the country at the last minute and plead for it at their father’s deathbed.
I’ll say it again—deep within the heart of every person is a longing for parental blessing. The word used in the Old Testament for “blessing” means literally to bow the knee. It expresses fondness for, confidence in, and recognition of a specific person. Scripture actually mentions five different ways parents can bless their children, but today, we’ll look at only one.
Here’s the principle: A blessing is not a blessing until it is spoken. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the tongue.” The clear message of Scripture is that what we say is very powerful.
What we say has the power to destroy. I am sure you could call quickly to mind some painful, awful things that have been said to you. You remember them more keenly than words of praise.
Yet while the tongue has the power to destroy, it also has the power to develop or build up. The biblical word is edify. We can say four things to our loved ones to whom we want to bless. We can say:
I often say to my kids, “How long will you be my son?” The first words my three-year-old boy would say were, “Forever, Dad.” I have said to my daughter, “How long are you going to be my girl?” “Forever.” We need those words of security, don’t we? We all need the power of spoken words.
But words take time. Mom tries to rush a few words in the bridal room while the photographer is there, but it’s too late. She waited too long. Dad tries to get a few words in just before his son gets in the car and heads off to college. He can’t believe how the years have gone by, and all the things he wanted to say never got said. Loved one, you have to say it.
I want to hold up my parents as a model of this. Since I was a kid, I have repeatedly heard words from my parents that have had a powerful influence in my life. My dad wrote a letter to my wife and gave it to her the day we married. Near the end he writes, “I commend to you my son. I love him dearly. I’ll miss him deeply, but I give him up gladly to you since you are the one I have prayed for since his childhood that God would provide for him a virtuous woman. Her price? Far above release. You’re it, Kathy. God bless you both. He has great things in store for you. Your loving future father-in-law.” And he signed his name.
Parents, I am holding up to you this challenge. Don’t miss your chance to say those words of blessing to your children. Don’t let another day pass. Pick one of the four blessings above and say it today. You might want to ration one a day, or your kid might drop from a coronary. But say it, say it, say it.
Get it said. Please don’t sit with your arms folded and resentment in your heart and say, “What about me? I never heard it from my parents.” Break the cycle, men and women! Pass on words of blessing to your kids and to those you love. Follow after God’s heart and get the words said.
Your children will remember them and you, beginning a cycle that, conceivably, will never end.
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