The move can be subtle, but unspeakably dangerous. Without realizing it you can drift from sanctification parenting to reputation parenting.
While they may appear similar on the surface, a life of the latter will have grave consequences in your heart and the hearts of your children.
Sanctification parenting is primarily concerned with the spiritual growth of your children. You do what you do as a parent with the goal of seeing them become mature believers in Christ.
Every Christian parent desires to do that. It’s the mother or father we strive to be. But all too easily, our focus can subtly drop – from their sanctification to our reputation.
Reputation parenting is primarily concerned with the spiritual reputation of the parent. You do what you do as a parent with the goal of having others see you as a respectable Christian parent.
We seek compliments from others for how great a parent we are and how well behaved our children are. Those words ensnares our hearts and build pressure in the lives of our children.
Because of that, we should strive to recognize the insidious way it entangles our home life. Think through the way you interact with your children.
- Is your first reaction to disobedience, “What will people think of me?”
- Is your main concern that your children “do the right thing”?
- Is your greatest fear that they rebel?
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, reputation parenting is our default mode of parenting. I recognize that deplorable facet of my own heart.
Our parenting must be saturated in the gospel and that cannot and will not happen if we are concerned with our reputation.
Instead of reluctantly answering yes to the three questions above, we need to make these the statements that drive us.
- My first reaction will be, “How can I help them grow?”
- My main concern will be, “Is their heart pointed toward Christ?”
- My greatest fear is that they’ll live good, religious lives and never know Jesus.
To move away from reputation parenting and toward sanctification parenting, we must continually stress the gospel of grace – reminding our children that just as the love of Christ is given freely independent of our actions, they never need to earn our love.
They are loved because they are ours and that fact will never change. We may not always be pleased with their actions, but we are always grateful God has entrusted them to us.
When we are consistently concerned with their sanctification instead of our reputation, we will not raise “the perfect kids,” but we will raise children who have experienced and can recognize sacrificial love.
By focusing on their sanctification and not our reputation, we value the direction and shape of their heart much more than the thoughts and opinions of others.