To spoil a child is to, quite literally, ruin them. For what? For themselves, for their future families, for society and, ultimately, for Kingdom work.
It’s not cute, understandable or funny.
It’s abuse, as it handicaps those who have been spoiled, making it more difficult for them to hear God’s call on their life, answer that call, follow through in obedience and so experience the very fellowship with God for which they were designed.
It’s idol worship, as it offers up souls whom God created for His glory on someone else’s altar—whether that altar be to the parents or to the children themselves—making those souls vulnerable to an Enemy who wants only to steal, kill, and destroy them (John 10:10).
Doubt it? Consider.
- If children aren’t given rules, how will they grasp the concept of God’s law?
- If children aren’t corrected when they break those rules, how will they ever grasp the concept of sin or recognize their own sin condition?
- If children are never punished, how will they recognize and appreciate mercy?
- If children are given more than they can appreciate, how will they recognize and appreciate grace?
- If children are never made to apologize, how will they understand their need for forgiveness?
- If children are never made to own up to their mistakes, how will they understand the need for confession?
- If children aren’t expected to learn from their mistakes and do better next time, how will they understand the need for sincere repentance?
- If children are allowed to believe that the world revolves around them, how will they recognize God’s ultimate authority?
- If children are allowed to disrespect adults, how will they learn to submit to the authority God has placed over them?
- If children aren’t ever expected to wait, how will they develop patience?
- If children aren’t expected to ask nicely, how will they learn to pray effective prayers?
- If children are allowed to call the shots, how will they understand the importance of obedience?
- If children are allowed to infringe upon the rights of others for their own comfort and convenience, how will they learn compassion?
- If children are allowed to destroy and waste, how will they understand stewardship?
- If children are allowed to be lazy, how will they understand responsibility to others?
- If children are led to believe that the world exists for their pleasure, how will they understand calling?
- If children are always served, how will they understand the importance of serving others?
- If children are allowed to quit when they feel like it, how will they persevere?
The list goes on and on…
All things considered, it seems impossible that a spoiled child could ever become what God intended him/her to be. Of course, all things are possible with God (Matt 19:26), but why would a parent put obstacles in their child’s way, especially when the penalty for causing someone to stumble spiritually is so steep (Luke 17:2)?
I don’t think they mean to.
I think they look around and, not finding censure or a better example, assume that what they are doing is acceptable. Relieved, they laugh it off like it’s no big deal, and we laugh with them, not wanting to overstep our bounds or make them feel uncomfortable.
There’s something to be said for that, of course, but there’s also something to be said for straight-talk, especially from those of us who’ve been there, done that, and perhaps learned a thing or two. It really makes no difference whether we learned our lessons the easy way or the hard way. If we don’t pass along what we know, we’re to blame for any shadow our silence casts.
So, here it is.
Parents, your ability and willingness to spoil your children is not a testimony to your character, somehow proving your long-suffering nature, patience, and generosity; it’s rather an indictment on your character, calling into question your discernment, work ethic, commitment to biblical stewardship, and the purity of your motives.
Understand, while it may be socially acceptable, even in some Christian circles, to spoil your children, it’s certainly NOT okay.