When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon because he loved him, for he was his firstborn. II Samuel 13:21 NRSV
This is a really hard scripture for me to tackle, but it has been on my heart lately. What do you do when your children make you really, really angry? I don't mean breaking a valuable object, I am talking about doing something morally or socially wrong and making you angry. I think the question is, how can you show your children love yet punishing them for their behavior? That is tough love and it isn't always easy. This can be especially true if you have let them get away with small things when they were younger. Sometimes our children need boundaries and we are unable to set firm boundaries. Our excuse is often our love but really it is about how hard it is to keep firm boundaries.
David is not a good boundary setter when it comes to his kids. Amnon raped his sister (!) Tamar and David did nothing to punish him, even though he was angry. Here is a man who is supposed to dispense justice in the entire kingdom and he can't even act justly in his own household. In the end, all of this will come back to haunt David and cause some great divisions in the country.
Sometimes God calls us to show tough love. And it isn't easy.
God, you have set boundaries for us, even as you deeply love us. Help us to do the same with our own children. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims