There is much that shapes and influences the life and personality of a child. There are times I can tell who my child has spent time with because of the way he speaks and acts.
A child’s view of God is shaped in much the same way.
As a parent, or even a teacher, my child learns more about God by the atmosphere I create in my home or classroom than by the truth I actually teach. My interactions with him are absorbed into his heart and mind and reflected back in his behavior. It’s true when they say, “A child becomes what he beholds.”
My child learns about God by the way I discipline him, the way I speak to him, what I require of him, whether I prioritize the rules or our relationship, and whether he feels safe to be honest with me.
What a sobering thought.
The desire of any believing parent or teacher is to accurately portray God to the children He has entrusted to us. God is multi-faceted. We can (and will) spend our entire lives searching out and, in turn, communicating the character of God.
It’s impossible to summarize God’s character in a single verse, but here is one God is using right now in my life to help guide my interactions with my child.
This verse is found EVERYWHERE in the Old Testament – multiple places in the Psalms, as God describes Himself to Moses, in Nehemiah and Joel, and in Jonah’s description of God. This verse clearly shows who God is!
This then leads me to consider:
If my child learns about God by the atmosphere I create and the way I interact with him …
- Am I merciful and tender?
- Am I gracious and kind?
- Am I not easily angered?
- Am I immense in love?
- Do I never, never quit?