Spare the rod

If you are a parent, grandparent or even an older sibling watching your younger brother or sister seemingly get everything they want, you’ll get this:  “spoiling” a child is a real thing.

For you parents, if your kid has ever, through persistence or whining or whatever, managed to wear you down or talk you into what they want you’ve been worried about doing this.  You were concerned what you’re creating is an entitled human being who, once they’re no longer in your care, will suffer greatly because the world will NOT give them what they want or think they need.  No parent wants to see their child suffer, so you try not to spoil them by imparting a little discomfort now to avoid larger pain later.

On the other hand, you grandparents do a complete 180.  You revel in spoiling the grandkids.  For so many years you had to be the “heavy” with their parents when they were growing up.  You want nothing more than to see the smiles on their little faces because you know something.  You know that your indulgence of them is fleeting.  They spend the majority of the time with their parents and they’ll straighten them out and bring them back to reality.

For you siblings, you wonder how in the world you drew the short straw.  You arrived first, by no choice or fault of your own, when your parents still possessed the resolve to say, “No”.  Now, with the youngest or younger ones, they’ve gotten soft.  They’ve lost the energy to fight and they’re just trying to appease their kids.  And it’s not fair!  This iniquity seems to be lost on them.  To add insult to injury, your brother or sister doesn’t even seem to be grateful how you paved the way for them to get so much that you were denied.

Just as surely as the above scenarios exist and play out every day, there’s another familial relationship where getting what we want doesn’t spoil us.  It has to do with how prayer works.  Jesus says this, in Luke 11: 9-10:  “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.   For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

As the son of God, Jesus is our sibling.  He knows that his Father, our Father, loves us.  Jesus has gone before us in his death and resurrection to ensure us rewards we neither understand nor earn.  They are a gift we merely need to ask for and seek to receive.  As our heavenly Father, God will give us what we need.  Much like the generous grandparent, he knows that his gifts, those we prayerfully request, will not be to our detriment.  Like the parent, He wants what is best for us and this is what will be delivered.

So to recap:  Spoiling a child, a real thing; spoiling a prayerful child of God: Not a real thing.  Our Father in heaven will provide an answer to our prayers.  He will give when we ask.  He will help us find when we look.  He will open the door when we knock.

Sometimes it’s tough for us to believe or accept that the response to our prayers will be so absolute.  I was the youngest sibling so I’ve heard how easy I had it.  I’ve also been the parent who felt they had to say no.  As much as I love my kids it’s hard to imagine the love of God but these two verses spell it out pretty plainly.  It’s up to us to accept it.

I write every week about life things, sometimes with a religiousy bent and sometimes not.  To read more, click here to go to my blog’s home page.  If you like what you read I hope you’ll subscribe to the blog.  Subscribing is free and means you’ll receive an email on Sundays with links to the week’s posts; nothing more and nothing less.  I never sell or share emails.  To subscribe, click this, or do so at the home page.

Thanks for reading!