“...slander no one... be peaceable and considerate, and always gentle toward everyone.” Titus 3:2 (NIV)

Parents, the above verse is one that should be on top of all of our minds when our kids come to us as I mentioned above. Sure, we could use these moments as opportunities to slam the other parent and “really show them what mom/dad is like.” It would be a great way to vent. If we do slam the other parent, it is only going to do more long-term damage to our kids as opposed to being, as Paul states, “gentle toward everyone.” Correct if need be, but do it in a way as if you will be standing before God one day and explaining what happened - because we all will be.

Correcting Ourselves

Single parents are not always single. We date, sometimes even get married. Despite our situation and relationship with our children’s mother or father, how we handle our own relationships in life is just as crucial for training our kids up in Christ as the other corrections we have already discussed. To be clear, I am NOT a dating doctor, so we won’t even go there, ok? I am simply using this final point to make sure that we stay keen to our own actions as well and not allow the enemy to blind us by thinking that WE are the ones who have it together always - not them. We could make a case for multiple other scenarios of how we can get knocked off track too, but I’m sticking with our personal relationships for now since they carry some big weight in our lives. Here are a few quick examples of how we can fall into the trap of self-righteousness and miss the mark in our own walk when it comes to a significant other:

  • We refer to our significant other as our children’s father or mother when the biological is still in the picture.
  • We make decisions based on flesh and not God’s Word when it comes to our personal lives, such as living/sleeping together when we’re not married, not stewarding our bodies for God’s purposes, and using the whole “Do as I say and not as I do” attitude.
  • We slam our son's or daughter’s other parent to our current partner or kids. This not only creates bitterness and a hardened heart within us, but it may also create false beliefs in our kids and our partner as well.

Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:34  “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (NASB)

When we allow the pitfalls of bitterness, animosity, or hurt to cloud our better judgment, we lose focus of our responsibilities as a parent, and possibly our personal relationship with Jesus. Trust me; I am COMPLETELY aware of how sensitive a topic our children are to us, especially when it comes to the other parent or a third party. The point is, as Jesus points out, to guard our hearts and not allow the black tentacles of sin to become entangled. It is easier to judge someone else than it is to die to self through humility. Keep your heart soft through a consistent relationship with the Lord. Allow Him to correct you if need be. Then, apply your walk through God’s Word to other necessary corrections in you and your kids’ lives. Remember, the refining process isn’t always fun when we are going through it, but the end result is pure gold!

Matt Haviland is the founder of “A Father’s Walk” single dad ministry and the author of the book, A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resources for Single Fathers. He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, MI and is a single dad to a beautiful little girl himself. For more information on the ministry, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.  

Publication date: February 7, 2013