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Being Better than Your Parents is the Wrong Goal

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Growing up in a godly home is no guarantee you’ll follow God. You can live better than your parents did. Or you can live worse. It’s true. But it’s also true that a godless home doesn’t doom you to a failed life.

Being Better than Your Parents is the Wrong Goal

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One man told me had as his goal to be a better father than his father was to him. And he did it. But then he realized that wasn’t enough.

Being better than your parents is doable, sure, but it’s the wrong goal.

Learning from Snapshots

At some point today, pull out a family photo album of years ago. Or glance through your digital collection.

You’ll see snapshots of younger parents and yourself in numerous places and memories. Snapshots capture more than moments of time. They save reminders.

  • “I forgot about that blouse.”
  • “Look how thin Dad used to be!”
  • “Mom’s handwriting is the same.”

To be sure, the photos will conjure up painful memories as well. But it’s precisely ALL those memories—both the good and the bad—that give strength in times of struggle. Whenever I see pictures of years ago, and remember the pain associated with those moments, I also realize that my family has persevered through those times. Somehow, with God’s remarkable strength, we have endured.

Your situation is no different. The reality of success is perseverance of character.

Being Better than Your Parents is the Wrong Goal

You only have to look at the kings of Judah to see that the product of any home has more to do with the child’s decisions than simply the parents’ training.

  • On one hand, wicked Manasseh had godly Hezekiah as his father (1 Chronicles 3:13).
  • On the other hand, godly Josiah grew up under the godless influences of Amon as a father and Manasseh as a grandfather (2 Kings 21:1-2, 19; 22:1-2).
Parents have a better goal

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What about you? Here are two questions to answer and two courses to follow:

1. Did you have godly parents? Emulate their lives, but walk your own walk with God.

Your parents’ godliness isn’t inherited. You are your own person before God. Your success comes by:

2. Did you have godless parents? Learn from their lives, but walk your own walk with God.

Your parents’ godless lives aren’t inherited (depravity notwithstanding). You are your own person before God. What I love about Josiah’s success stems from a commitment we also can adopt.

  • Refusing to allow a parent’s failure to define our future.
  • Seeing the new generation of our lives as a line in the sand over which we will step and never step back.

Being better than your parents may happen. But if that’s your goal, then it stems from pride and spite. Obviously, that’s the wrong motivation. Being better than your parents is the wrong goal because they aren’t the standard.

The goal of every parent—and of every person—ought to be to live like Jesus Christ.

Tell me what you think: What did your parents’ examples teach you? To leave a comment, just click here.

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