Definition from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spoil

To spoil:

1. a. To impair the value or quality of. b. To damage irreparably; ruin.
2. To impair the completeness, perfection, or unity of; flaw grievously: spoiled the party.
3. To do harm to the character, nature, or attitude of by oversolicitude, overindulgence, or excessive praise.
4. Archaic a. To plunder; despoil. b. To take by force.

Lately I have been counseling a number of parents who are having a lot of problems with their children. One in particular feels that her husband is too gentle and considerate of their daughters. Her belief is that his compassionate concern will spoil the girls.

Other parents feel that they are not strict or stern enough and that is why their child is disobedient. While there are some parents who are indulgent and ignore disobedience, most of these attitudes reflect a misconception concerning our Heavenly Father’s disposition toward us.

A parent who is worried about spoiling his child says that he won’t praise or lavish attention or affection on the child unless the child is performing up to standard. Work hard first and then I will show you love and attention. How does this compare with the way The Lord God treats His earthly children?

I John 4:19: We love because he first loved us.
Vs 10: In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Ephesians 1:7-8
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight

Ephesians 2:4-5
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-

What is going on here? God loved us first. He lavished love on us while we were rebels. He poured out grace on us liberally while we were dead in sin. Did this initiating, lavish love spoil us? No! His love heals us. His lavish love actually puts a stop to the rot that was already at work in us.

What does this mean for our treatment for others? Wait until people live up to our expectations before we show love, care, and affection? Or, show love and care first by demonstrating God’s initiating love to others. As David Powlison of www.ccef.org says, “Love moves toward people.”

Godly love never spoils. Godly love brings healing.

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One Response to Spoiled?

  1. Penny October 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Wonderful post, Cheryl, and a real challenge to remember how and why we are to love others … even our own children!

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