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Loving Children When They’re Unlovable

by Dennae Pierre Published Apr 26, 2011

I talked to a foster parent recently who was explaining how she doesn’t know how you can get through foster care without first tasting the love of Christ. There is so much truth to that statement! Of course, we can be thankful for evidences of God’s common grace in enabling people who are not Christians to still love children, but at the end of the day, the best place to go to see perfect love for unlovable people is the cross.

Sometimes when we parent, our children are not particularly “lovable.” What parent looks at their 2 year old throwing a tantrum on the supermarket floor and says, “Oh, how adorable! I just want to give this child some hugs and kisses?” I have worked with many teenagers who were not the most inviting people to talk with and love on. Their parents even begin to talk about feeling intimidated by them and finding themselves tempted to withdraw from their kids. Or what about difficult things that go along with attachment disorders, autism, substance exposure, and past traumatic memories?

In parenting, as in every other area of life, the best way to grow in our ability to face difficult situations with joy is by understanding two very important truths:

First, understand the goodness and greatness of God’s love!

Second, understand the darkness, evil, and depths of your sin.

If we don’t understand how corrupt, vile, wicked, and evil we were before Christ then we cannot fully appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The fact that God loved us, saved us, and adopted us loses its weight when we don’t see what we actually deserved. If we had a right view of our sin before God, then the thought that God would adopt us would be appalling to us; except, that we also understand…

God’s glorious love! If we don’t fully appreciate God’s love, grace, and forgiveness then we will never be able to relate to him as Father. Instead of joining our father for a feast in our honor like the prodigal son did, we will turn and walk back to eat with the pigs, plotting of how we are going to earn our way back into relationship with him.

This why we can love a child who is acting unlovable, because you can relate to that child! You were unlovable…BUT God loved you.

This is why we discipline our children and help them learn how to be apart of a God-fearing family, because you were unruly and defiant, BUT GOD loves you enough to discipline you.

This is why we can pursue teenagers who want to walk around with an iPod in their ears day and night, because you were an enemy of the gospel, BUT GOD made you his child.

This is why we can forgive those who deeply wrong us, because you deserve hell and condemnation, BUT GOD forgave you and you stand before him righteous, without condemnation.

Praise be to God!

  • Adoption Mama

    Thank you for this timely post. We are dealing with a hurting 14 year old adopted child. God is so good all the time. You have encouraged me today.

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