Our Children’s Deepest Need
There is so much help in Psalm 51 for understanding the deepest need of your children that I think you could write a whole parenting book from it alone. The implications of what David confesses and cries out for set a whole new agenda for what God has called us to in the lives of our children. As I explore the implications of this psalm for understanding the task of parenting, I want you to notice the focus of David’s confession. He doesn’t say, “I messed up and I’m sorry.” Far from it. David is deeply aware that he has more than a behavior problem. When you read Psalm 51, you are hit with the fact that embedded in David’s confession of specific and concrete sins is a cry for God’s help with an even deeper moral drama. Let me draw six agenda-setting observations from this psalm for your work as a parent.
1. Your Children Need to See Their Sin, So They’ll Cry Out for God’s Mercy
Psalm 51 begins with a cry every human being should make, but sadly billions don’t. You only make this cry when you have come to the point where you acknowledge that the greatest danger in your life lives inside you not outside you, and because of that you are a person in desperate need of God’s help and the helpers he has placed in your life. There is no more important function for a parent than this: to lovingly and patiently bring our children to the point where they too cry out for God’s mercy. Crying out for God’s mercy happens only when you have acknowledged the sin that is inside you from which you are not able to free yourself. Children who begin to humbly and willingly acknowledge their sin not only run to God for his help, but they quit resisting the help, guidance, correction, and instruction of their parents too. How sad would it be if you successfully managed and controlled the behavior of your son or daughter, but they left your home never acknowledging the sin in their hearts and their desperate need for God’s mercy?