I have a confession to make. I am an overly critical parent. I have found things in my children’s lives to pick at all the time. Now that my children are adults, I have had to repent on numerous occasions because I have continued it into their adult lives too. Being critical is not speaking life. By God’s grace, my children have turned out great! They love the Lord and are very responsible but they question every decision they make because they are afraid to make the “wrong” decision. This, my fellow parents, is due to my being an overly cautious, overly critical parent. Fear is never speaking life. Always being on your children about every decision they make creates fear and we are supposed to be encouraging faith in them. Faith is speaking life!!!! How do I correct being overly critical? Well it starts with a story from a long time ago…
“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:8-9 NKJV
The reason these two trees are so important is because they were in the beginning, yet they still affect our lives today. Which tree are you gathering fruit from? My overly critical parenting was taking from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is where the fear of making “wrong” decisions comes into play: always comparing and contrasting the “good” and “evil” and thinking that every decision our children make has a “right” or “wrong” twist to it. (Don’t take this the wrong way – I know there is sin and bad decisions can be made but please follow me to the end). So when God took me on a journey back to the Garden He showed me some insights that helped me to repent and start gathering fruit from the tree of life. In the garden of Eden, eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil brought sin into the world and when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden, God did something amazing…
“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24 NKJV
God placed a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. He had to do that because if they had eaten from the tree of life after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would have eternally lived in their sin. God in all His grace and compassion had another plan. He wanted us to return to eat from the tree of life. What did He do? He sent Jesus!
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NKJV
Jesus came to give us access back to the tree of life!!! This is why speaking life is so important. This is where I repented to God and to my children, asked for forgiveness for being overly critical, discarded the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and began the work of gathering new fruit from the tree of life. Notice also what was used to block the way to the tree of life. A flaming sword!!! Fast forward many years and the Bible tells us…
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;” Ephesians 6:17 NKJV
God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit which leads us and guides us into truth and life. It leads us back to the TREE OF LIFE!!! It leads us to Jesus our Salvation. It has led me and taught me how to speak life instead of criticism. It has taught me that if I begin to instill life in my children I need to trust that the Spirit of God that dwells in them will lead them to make “good” and “right” decisions when their eyes are on Him. So the next time the enemy tempts me to “eat” from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I will take my Sword which has been given to me, chop down that tree and CHOOSE LIFE!!!
Cynthia Schrock was born in Ohio but grew up on the mission field with her parents in Quito, Ecuador. She married her wonderful husband Eric in 1990. They have two beautiful children: Ashley is 24 and Matthew is 19. In 2016 Cynthia completed a 13 year long journey of homeschooling. Eric and Cynthia have been involved in marriage and parenting ministry for 22 years. Cynthia is a Contact Mom, helping moms with solutions in their daily parenting struggles. She has also authored a book on celebrating others called The Ultimate Gift of a Birthday.