Balancing unconditional love with conditional acceptance.
Although the father goes away early in the story, it is his love that sustains Snow White. And it is the rescuing Prince’s love that fulfills her and restores her to her royal state. In between comes the malevolent stepmother, the interloper. She is the one who supplies harsh punishments and meager benefits, motivated by incredible hatred for the one who would rival her fading beauty.
This familiar folk tale has many versions, and they are all a commentary on love. Many feel that every human is born with a fading impression of perfect love. Some learn early on that, indeed, they are loved unconditionally by One Who created them and assigned to them great value. Nurtured to believe this, faith is ignited and brings growth in a Kingdom ruled by a redeeming Prince.
We humans who nurture young ones might be likened to protective forest animals or even seven brothers known for their bungling and bustling character traits. Believing adults everywhere seek to create safe places for children where the Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and conditional acceptance can be understood, embraced and experienced.
For herein is one of the most difficult tasks we parents have. How do we make sure our children know we love them unconditionally even when we cannot accept their behavior? Balancing unconditional love with conditional acceptance is as challenging as anything a tightrope walker ever faces!
Here’s a project for you that may help with this conundrum. Create a family-time Bible study based on Hebrews 12:1-13. One result might be a family-made banner that reads…the Lord disciplines those He loves. You’ll find this passage a gold mine of spiritual truth that benefits the diggers. Just one: When God disciplines us, it proves God loves us!
God may well speak to you about your disciplinary actions with your kids. With God there is no doubt that His discipline is a reflection of His unconditional love. We, on the other hand, must often admit that our disciplinary actions are fueled by our anger or frustration, first, and then as a desire to bring good into our child’s life.
What have you found that has helped you here?