Grace to you
Imagine an artist. Let’s say, an amazing painter. This artist paints with oils in textures and colours that are simply breathtaking. To watch the artist at work is to watch a prayer being prayed visually. Only a poet could describe their painting with any sense of accuracy. Now imagine this artist had a child.
The young child had no interest in drawing or colouring-in or painting, yet the child loved to play with plaster-seen. As the child grew in years so the child grew in skill as a sculpture – in clay, wood and stone.
Now what do you think is more likely: the artist being angry their child did not become a painter or the artist celebrating that there is another artist in the family, be it in a different genre?
Surely the parent would celebrate rather than be angry! Surely we would be shocked were this not the case, especially if the parent were to curse their child’s eternal future because they became an artist in a different field to themselves. If the parent were to resent their child’s chosen discipline we would probably question whether the parent possesses the spirit of an artist at all, regardless of how beautifully they paint.
Now let us transfer this brief route of reasoning to faith.
Imagine a believer. Let’s say a Christian believer whose child grows up and does not believe as they believe – perhaps the child’s belief finds form in a different denomination or religion or in a practice outside of defined religion.
Will the parent celebrate or be angry? If we are not as sure about this as we are about the artist mentioned earlier – then we would do well to pause and ponder why this is so. This will reveal a great deal about what we believe about faith and God and our parental responsibilities.
A parent is never to enforce an art or faith form on their child. No more than a parent should ever force their child to fall in love with a particular person. A parent’s deepest responsibility is to live out their own art or faith form as passionately and faithfully as their integrity demands. To witness a parent’s passion, faithfulness and integrity is an awesome gift. A gift that gives the child courage to be the artist – the believer and the lover as their own integrity demands. This is always beautiful to behold.