We can take great comfort in knowing that the gospel of grace is true by examining the life of King David. The same Bible that teaches us that he was regarded as "a man after God's own heart" pulls no punches when revealing that he was also a man of many shortcomings. One such occasion is found in 1 Kings 1:6, which reads...
"His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, 'Why have you done thus and so?'"
Now, this verse is not the main thrust of the passage by any means, and yet I think there is a very important lesson for us to take from this bit of information offered. Adonijah (David's second-born son) was leading a very prideful life. The plans of his heart were being fueled by self-centered desire, and what's worse is that his father knew about it and did nothing. This unchecked sinful pattern running free in Adonijah's heart is what ultimately cost him his life.
It seems that when a child is allowed to happily carry on in some pattern of sin for so long, the grip may become too strong to break. This is the reason why this small section of verse six has become so important to me. As a parent, I want to love my children to the best of my ability. I want to meet their needs physically and emotionally. I want them to be happy and to know how much I care for them, and these are all wonderful things to strive for. But what this verse makes crystal clear is that true love involves more than laughter and smiles; it takes more than encouragement and accolades. True love is willing to frustrate a child's heart today in the hope of giving them a better tomorrow. True love is willing to be disliked, to be unpopular, to be argued with and still stand firm. True love is more interested in what is best for the child than what is comfortable for the parent. My dear friends, if you love your children, I urge you to displease them in their sin.
Consider the implications of unbridled self-centeredness that goes uncontested by mom and dad. Someday soon, your little ones are going to be grown. They are going to be out in the world making their own decisions. From what kind of foundation will they come? One where they were never displeased, or one where they were often displeased in the name of love? Consider, can a marriage be healthy if one or both spouses is seeking his or her own selfish desires? Can a person be a good employee under the authority of a boss or supervisor if they are only willing to do that which pleases themselves? Can deep and meaningful friendships be formed by someone who sees people as a means to his or her own ends?
The sin of self-centeredness is at the helm of much dysfunction in our world, and it is the very antithesis of God's purpose in creating us. The clearest Scriptural explanation of the reason for our existence (and therefore the proper way for us to live, think, and behave) is found in 1 Corinthians 8:6 which says, "...for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist..." Could that verse be any clearer? To live self-focused, self-adoring, self-seeking, self-promoting lives is nothing less than sin against the very God who gives you life. It is no wonder that marriages, careers, friendships, and many other arenas of life are falling to pieces for those who continue to live this way. And it is for this reason that I charge you, as your brother in the Lord and a fellow parent: If you love your children, displease them. The momentary joys of unchecked sin are worthless compared to the deep and ever-satisfying joys of pleasing God and dwelling with him forever. Love your children with true love, with biblical love, with a love that is willing to displease.