Advice Needed

I’m writing this article in hopes of getting some advice on how to deal with a challenging issue. I recently had a couple in my office who is deeply concerned about their 7th grade son. Even though I am new to this community, I met this couple several years ago and have come to know them as very loving and caring people. They are great parents and are committed to providing a very healthy environment for their children to grow up in.
I believe they have a done a wonderful job of providing a safe home to live in complete with a bedroom for each of their four children. They regularly gather as a family to sit down and eat together. After eating they spend some time reading from the Bible and praying for each other. The point of the devotions is to help their children discover the significance of God’s great salvation and what it means to follow Jesus. And then because they want to help their children understand the power of worship, occasionally they will sit and listen to a meaningful worship song. And finally I’m not sure I agree with this, but they shared with me that they give each child $50 of spending cash every week.
Seems to me like an ideal home to grow up in and yet according to the parents, their son seems ungrateful and they don’t know what to do. When asked to help with the household chores, the young boy just runs out the door to go play with his friends. Another issue of concern for them is that their son doesn’t always show up at meal times and when he does he doesn’t really seem that interested in eating or interacting with the family. And he certainly isn’t interested in the time of Bible study and prayer afterward; in fact he just gets up and goes to his room to play video games. But one thing the parents were sure of; every Monday he would ask for his $50.
As you can about imagine, the young boy’s behavior is beginning to adversely affect him and the rest of the family. His brother and sisters are beginning to resent his behavior and want little to do with him. It’s very clear this young boy has lost his fear of his parents. Here’s where I’m not sure what advice to give to the parents. What form of discipline would be most helpful that would create a renewed sense of gratitude in the young man’s life? Would it be helpful for the parents to stop giving the boy his weekly spending cash? Or would that just create more rebellion? What would lead this young man to repentance?
Well, the story I just shared with you is really make belief, however my point in sharing this story is that I believe it’s often a picture of my, of our, relationship with God. It’s a picture of the American Church in how we relate to God. We want the joy of living under God’s protection and provision and yet in many ways we respond with little gratitude or obedience.
Over the next several weeks we are going to explore areas as a congregation where we must repent and reform as adopted sons and daughters of a loving Father. My prayer is that when we come under conviction in regards to our lack of fear of God that we might respond with repentance in order that we might fully enjoy the glory of God in our midst again.
From Malachi 3:6-7, 7″I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven’t done a thing I’ve told you. Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
Grace and peace, Mike

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