Christian Parenting: Should I Ignore My Child's Weaknesses? Part 1

Posted by Dr. Andy Walker on April 14, 2016
Dr. Andy Walker

Should I ignore my child's weaknesses? 


▸ noun
1 [mass noun] the state or condition of being weak:
the country's weakness in international dealings.
2 a disadvantage or fault:
you must recognize your product's strengths and weaknesses.
3 a person or thing that one is unable to resist or likes excessively: you're his one weakness—he should never have met you.
Oxford Dictionary of English

At a traffic light in Bakersfield, I saw a white vinyl sign on the rear window of a van that read:

"Make sure you draw attention to your children's strengths and don't discuss or draw attention to their weaknesses."

Is this bit of advice consistent with Biblical principles? Should I ignore my child's weaknesses? There are, of course, different kinds of weaknesses.  Let's consult Scripture to see some of the various types of weakness.  We'll take a look at 10 weaknesses, the first five in part 1 and the next five in part 2.  

Inflicted Fear

Leviticus 26:36 ‘As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them, and even when no one is pursuing they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall.'

This kind of weakness is being fearful in heart. In this instance it is God who inflicts this fear (weakness) on those who commit idolatry. I think it would be foolish to ignore this weakness, especially since it is a judgment of God. Wouldn't it be important to be aware of this weakness so that we could take the necessary steps of repentance that would result in God lifting the weakness He inflicted because of our idolatry?

Moral Weakness

Romans 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

This kind of weakness is a moral weakness, the inability to not sin. Wouldn't it be important to know your moral condition before God? With moral weakness there is the possibility of a cure. To ignore the weakness is to ignore the remedy. It's the medical equivalent of ignoring your child's illnesses! What kind of parent ignores his child's health needs? Ignoring this weakness can result in spiritual slavery.

Weakness Stemming From Ignorance

Romans 8:26  In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

This kind of weakness is brought about by lacking the knowledge of how to ask for what we need. Everyone has this weakness, but Paul says that the Holy Spirit helps our weaknesses in this case. That does not mean that we shouldn't become more informed and wise as to what we should ask for. Ignoring this weakness (the Holy Spirit's assistance not withstanding) results in a less effective prayer life.

Unbiblical Scruples

Romans 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.

This kind of weakness comes from ignorance of what the Bible permits and forbids. Some people (weak) put more conservative regulations on their behavior than is warranted from Scripture. At the same time there are Christians who go further than the Bible allows. A third category are those Christians (strong) who are aware of what God allows and forbids, and adjust their lives accordingly. It seems clear that those who put more restrictions on themselves than God requires would be greatly benefitted if they conformed their scruples to what the Bible forbids and allows. Ignoring this weakness potentially forfeits freedom in the Christian's life!

Facetious Weakness

1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Of course God has no weaknesses or foolishness, but man tends to perceive God's strengths as weaknesses and God's wisdom as foolish. Paul is saying that if God were to have a weakness it would still be head and shoulders above man's strengths. Paul says the same thing about God's wisdom. If God had any foolishness (which He doesn't), that "foolishness" would be far superior than man's best wisdom!


Part 2 coming next week...

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Topics: Parenting, Christian Parenting