One of the most profound relationships we can be involved in is spiritual parenting. Paul called Timothy his son. Ruth followed Naomi into her destiny. Elijah passed his mantle to Elisha. The Scripture contains many examples of spiritual parenting, the good and the bad.
These relationships are not limited to bloodlines. They are not age specific. They are an issue of the heart. A 20-something can parent a grade school kid. A 60-something can parent a 40-year-old, and in rare cases, a mature younger person can actually parent a dysfunctional person who is decades older.
One of the things a spiritual parent does that is crucial to the health of those they parent is to issue a warning in love. These warnings are not like the warnings given out as a sharp-edged form of punishment in hopes of shaming a child into obedience. God never shames anyone to do anything, nor does He call anyone to represent Him as a shaming voice. These warnings of love are issued so the child will begin to think of something higher, and beyond the potential failure that they are considering. A warning issued in love by a Spirit-led parenting presence will always be driven by a passion fueled by the incredible and unrealized identity the parent sees in the child.
These warnings have an element of prophecy attached to them. They speak as an invitation for the child to let go of the lesser to embrace the greater. A warning offered in love will surround the one being parented with a sense of security. A warning can actually become a warm embrace that gives a child the time needed to reconsider another course of action. The decision still rests with the ones who hear our warning, but knowing they are loved and cared for will help them make a decision that shame could never offer.
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