Care and discipline are both expressions of God’s love for us.
God’s care for his children is beautifully illustrated in a mother’s affection for her child:
Can a woman forget her nursing child,that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. (Isa. 49:15)
God’s loving discipline for his children is displayed when a father does not neglect his responsibility in disciplining his child:
My son, do not despise the LORD’s disciplineor be weary of his reproof,for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,as a father the son in whom he delights. (Prov. 3:11-12)
That God uses mothers and fathers as illustrations of his love for us is not surprising. He created man and woman to reflect his glorious image (Gen. 1:26-27).
This has a lot to say about parenting. This could even be the key to a successful parenting.
God calls all fathers to be a reflection of his love in raising up children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). In the same way, all mothers are to be mirrors of God’s love as they “love their husbands and children” (Tit. 2:4). And imagine how beautiful it would be for the family if both father and mother are pursuing the same purpose!
Your father and mother are both imperfect and sinful. But the image of God in them is not totally destroyed when Adam and Eve sinned. There is still in the heart of your parents traces of God’s love for us.
God is even using their imperfections and sinfulness to drive us toward him who has the perfect father-heart and the perfect mother-heart.
And through the redemption of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, the heart of a father or a mother can be restored to fully reflect God’s love for each other and their children.
It is my prayer for all parents that their parenting will flow from a heart committed to make God’s love known to the younger generation – through loving care and loving discipline.
If you are interested in knowing more about this, you can take a look at the two sermons I preached in our church – one on Mother’s Day and the other on Father’s Day.