Try a Little Love and Tenderness
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grandmahug

This week’s Sabbath School lesson is about Hosea and the relentless love of God. For me, one of the key verses is Hosea 2:14,

But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.

I am so thankful for parents who understand this. I wish all parents understood this is the way to win their children’s loyalty to God and to themselves.

Several years ago I was preaching for Father’s Day, and I had a few people, young and old, tell us what they liked about their fathers. One young man, about 12 years old, gave a powerful, heartfelt tribute to his dad, even saying “nobody reminds me of Jesus more than my father.”

That same Sabbath morning, the son was offered some cookies in his Sabbath School class which he gladly took. His father saw him eating the cookie and starting publicly berating him and telling him how sinful it is to eat in church! (News to me!) The son could not hide his hurt and humiliation. The son definitely was not trying to be a hard-hearted rebel by taking a cookie just like everyone else. I know the father meant well too, but you don’t have to be a parent to know that publicly embarrassing and humiliating your child is not a good thing to do. Remember, Jesus worked His first miracle, turning water into wine for no other reason than to save the host from public embarrassment. It would not have killed them to just drink water, but Jesus is a Savior from public humiliation and embarrassment. It is not one of His tools.

Not long after this, the father called me up and wanted me to lecture his son because he was becoming defiant. I came to their home as requested, but the talk did not actually go the way the father expected. The father was accusing the son of being disrespectful. With father and son both present, I asked the son about the beautiful tribute he gave to his father. Both agreed that was very nice and respectful. I then asked the son how he felt when later, his father publicly berated him for eating a cookie just like everyone else. He said it was very hurtful and you could see the hurt in his eyes as he said that. I shared Hosea 2:14 with them both and asked the father if he thought he could be a little more tender when correcting his son. I was not asking him to change his standards, just his approach. But I did share with the father that I was unaware of any Bible teaching against eating a cookie in church. Being a father is a very sacred calling, and I did not want to distract from that or appear to try to trump him. However I did encourage him to follow 2 Timothy 3:16  and be sure to correct his son according to Scripture.

Tears were in the son’s eyes by now as I explained to the father how much his son loved him, and how hurt he was, when publicly humiliated for doing something he thought was totally innocent, with no rebellious intentions. I assured the father that his son would not have written such a loving tribute if he did not deeply love and respect him. His son nodded in agreement with tears still in his eyes.

I thought the father was going to turn on me now for not ganging up with him on his side, but, instead, he actually thanked me! I know the father had a good heart and really cared about his children. Why else would his son write that no one reminded him more of Jesus than His father?

Parents, please be tender with your children. You may not think they love, appreciate and respect you, but at school and church I hear them say things you may never hear. I always tell kids, “Your parents love you more than you think they do,” and I say the same to parents. “Your children love you more than you think they do.” As a third party observer, I know this for a fact.

If you don’t want to take it from me, take it from God,

But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.

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Try a Little Love and Tenderness — 36 Comments

  1. Thanks for this sound article.
    I think E.W. also said that is ok to rather be to much tender than severe.

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    • You are exactly right Goran. Ellen White says in the book Education, page 293-4 "Every true teacher will feel that should he err at all, it is better to err on the side of mercy than on the side of severity."

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  2. William, a wonderful presentation. I seek your prayers as I teach in a public school in Jamaica where tenderness is regarded as weakness. A loving, tender but firm reprimand does not win respect but that the teacher is weak. I continue to pray and ask God to help me represent His character aright.

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  3. Thank you for a rich illustration and l know it is coming straight from God. Thank you once again Jesus

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  4. This is just a replica of Jesus teachings.... Ride on, God will use your ministry as tool to heal broken homes....

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  5. Hi William,

    Your approach for using the verses in Hosea surprised me. I hadn't thought of applying them to parenting. Your illustration of the cookie, the boy and the father just about makes me cry. I didn't know how to raise my son in so many aspects. I may have acted like that father, but I may have said, " You can't eat the cookie because we don't eat between meals." I sure wish someone like you was around when we were raising our son because we could have used your counsel. By the time our son was 13 and in Boy Scouts, I had changed and was much more loving and supportive in the area of food and activities.

    Now we have grandchildren which means I have an opportunity to be everything I wanted to be as a parent but couldn't. What a joy to bring happiness and tenderness to these children.

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  6. Jane, as I commented in the post, parenting is a sacred calling and is not easy. We all do the best we can, and I trust by now your son realizes he is not perfect. We all have the truest aims but still make mistakes. Therefore we should be forgiving of our parents, teachers and mentors. God is still by your side, helping you make the most of being a parent and a grandparent.

    Thanks to everyone for participating in the discussion and for your encouragement and prayers for my ministry online and in the Tampa Bay area. God bless you all!

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  7. The beauty of God's word is that, every time you look at it, you learn something new. What an application. Does the author mean that it's okay to eat in church? Why were cookies being given out in the church? I understand however, the point he is trying to make with the relationship of the father and his son and how we should all treat each other.

    That takes me to Dolice, it's not that Jamaicans view tenderness as weakness, we gravitate towards love, kindness and tenderness like anyone else. Try not to patronise those kids, try not to make them lose face in front of their friends. They are like any other children of the world. They will try to get away with what they can. They will love and respect you and so will their parents if they see you are genuine. Get to really know them, on a one to one basis, talk to their parents, develop a relationship with them. Our teachers were stern, they took no mess, but we all knew the kind ones and they were loved and respected. Work within the culture you are in, you will find it easier that way. You may even find that they talk about you as a great person behind your back. How do I know this? I was born and raised in the Jamaican culture and educated in the public school system. On behalf of all Jamaicans I thank you for the wonderful work you, and all teachers do on a daily basis. It is not an easy job, God bless you and you are in my prayers.

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    • Thank you for your thoughts Paulette.The cookies were given out in Sabbath school as a special treat which was right after the first worship service where the tribute was read. In North America many churches have fellowship lunches in the church.

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  8. How easy is to correct kids harshly and berate them when we see them doing something wrong. And then we wonder where they get their attitude, from us! I have to undo the damage I have done with my son, how different he acts when I ask in a polite voice for him to do something instead of telling him in a bossy voice what to do.

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  9. I am so thankful to you for such an educative piece. I have three sons and I have always opted treating them by the very strict way. I thought they will go way-ward if I treated them so softly. I once shouted on my second son, who is only four, right in church that God will not bless him when he passed a comment about a girl being too fat. I should have explained to him why he shouldn't have said that rather than passing that comment.Thank God for such a timely intervention.

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  10. I look forward to each morning to study and read all the coments from all of you.
    Blessings are over flowing with love from all. Thank you
    I need to request prayer for me as grandparent, for I live with my children; I need to be like Jesus in everything! My son tends to be harsh with his children. Please lift us in prayer for strength is continued rearing of our children for now they are 16 and 12 what a beautiful age of learning and growing in Christ.
    Again, thank you so much for all you do in sharing bible verses and comments from E. White.

    Blessings from Heaven to all.

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  11. Thanks again everyone for sharing. Ellen you are right for correcting your son. Nobody wants to be called fat. But you are right. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. We are all learning together.

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  12. This week has been very inspirational and to read about real time application of the book of Hosea had to be God breathed. Thanks for the lesson today and I will be encouraging others to show that tender loving care to all children. This has been a most enjoyable presentation and a timely one for me to apply now while I raise my toddler. Thanks again.

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  13. Hi William,
    I have been living in N America for greater than twenty years now so I do understand the concept of eating in the fellowship hall. Regardless of whether it is right or wrong to eat in the sanctuary, I am not here to judge. I loved your application.

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  14. This is so powerful I am very grateful to the writer. As a special education teacher this just hit home.It's not easy being in the classroom in today's world. However, these words would be kept close to my heart and by the grace of God every time I have to open my mouth to speak to a student I trust that God will speak through me. Thanks William.

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  15. Thank you so much for the comments from all of you. A true blessing to me. It opened my eyes on how i must rebuke my daughter.

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  16. Thank you for the wonderful lesson and illustration and the comments. i am blessed with it. but i want some more light on wheather it is wrong to eat in church and why it would be. otherwise, during the holy communion we eat and drink right in church. in my opinion an organised eating can happen in church because it would have good intetions just like the holy communion. thank you.

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  17. dear friends indeed thats the love of God but remember this does not substitute the need for our commitment in giving Him back all that He requires from us especially to inherit His kingdom.salvation was already won by the Savior at the cross and He won us back but as Hoseas wife she needed to learn and live at home not back to her mad similarly we need to stay at the Saviors feet like that woman who annointed Christ with oil......the boundaries of forbearance in heaven will soon close and probation will close what shall become of me should be our question to answer....thanks

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  18. The writer reveals how true the song is that says, "With arms wide open He'll pardon you, what He's done for other's He'll do for you. It is no secret that God loves you" My friend in Hosea we find that not only does He woo you to Him, He'll go the extra mile to keep you in His good graces. So I am having a hard time understanding why it is so easy to seek human aid in our trials of life rather than seeking God who has wisdom, guidance, advice and comfort that far surpasses any human advice.

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  19. Now on the topic of parenting there is a lot of meat in two sentences found in chapter 7 of Patriarchs and Prophets on the flood. " As a reward for his faithfulness and integrity, God saved all the members of his family with him. What encouragement to parental fidelity! "

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  20. Thank you William for once again touching hearts and lives with a timely message.
    Parenting is very challenging. The times I regret most as I look back over the years of parenting my boys (now young men) are those when out of frustration or anger I lashed out with unkind, impatient, and hurtful words.
    I pray for forgiveness for those times and hope that my boys don't recall those times as vividly as I do!

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  21. William !
    Thank God for you, You open the eyes, which never was open! It makes me very guilty!I wish I could have that child now! How nicely I could have taken care of her. Just pray for me. God will wipe away my sin.

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    • Usha,

      I feel for you because I have felt the same way many times. I find being honest with God about raising my children and grandchildren means that God can help us to make the necessary improvements in our parenting. Keep going one day at a time. That's all God expects of us.

      William, can you create a huge prayer list? Many of us need a wonderful, next chapter in our lives, in some way! Thanks for caring William!

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