I was scolded after Church Sunday for being too critical of my daughter Kelsey during church. Afterwards, I was thinking of what I did to show the outward appearance of being critical of my child in the house of worship.
Was it the fact that I make her stand during times requested by the pastor?
Was it the fact that I make sure she is bowing her head in reverence to God during the prayers?
Was it when I wouldn’t let her leave to go to the bathroom?
Or perhaps it was immediately after the service when I made the comment that I didn’t know her jeans had rhinestones on the back pockets until she was “taking the Light of Christ out into the world”. (And I bought them for her!)
Immediately following this comment, someone in the church came up to me and said, “Please don’t be too critical of her, mom, you will ruin her self esteem.” For one thing, I only made the comment because I was ashamed about the fact that I didn’t look at the jeans better before I bought them. I think they are adorable and didn’t see anything wrong with them. Did the person that made the comment think they were too flashy? Did they think they were inappropriate?
Whatever the reason for the comment, I have brewed it over in my mind all week. Not only do I want people to know how much I love my children and how much I admire them and am proud of them, but I also want them to realize that I am more accustomed to building my children’s self esteem by teaching them right from wrong.
So I got to thinking…What should I expect of my children in a worship service setting? Well, she is 10…not 2, so I do set the standards a little higher than I do for my 1 1/2 year old foster granddaughter.
This is what I came up with:
Aside from her pastor being her father, and owing him respect and honoring him as her father and spiritual leader of our house, here is what I expect:
- for her to respect him as the ambassador of God, sent to teach us a better way of living than a selfish existence we might be guilty of if it were not for his guidance.
- to trust him, so that he may be free to serve the church with guidance from God.
- to pray for him so that God may make his service a blessing to everyone in the congregation, and whomever he comes in contact with.
- to help with the works of the church whenever God calls or when the pastor (dad) requests.
- to encourage him when simple annoyances make his work difficult.
- I expect her to participate in the worship service; i.e. singing, praying, standing when requested (hearing the word of God included); not talking, and not laying in the pew to sleep.
- to pay attention in church so that he will not be disturbed by careless inattentive actions or by conduct that will cause him to lose track of what he is saying or doing.
All in all, I don’t feel that I ask too much of her in a worship setting. I see many other kids fidgeting, talking, sleeping, and causing all kinds of commotion in church that are much older than Kelsey (who is 10); some of this is even caused by adults! The service is only an hour; albeit we actually go to two different churches and have the same service twice in a row…yet she manages to sit through school for 7 hours a day without doing the same things. And that is 5 days a week.
Church is only on Sundays.
After thinking this over…I realized it wasn’t about what Kelsey owed the pastor…or even her dad…but it was about what she owed God. Out of respect for Him, we should all be willing servants and participate in a worship service for Him, and for Him alone.
May God go with you always!