Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series
where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years,
the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them
with you. This morning we seek to understand how to be a spiritual parent.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
How to Be a Spiritual Parent
"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven
their angels do always behold the face of the Father which is in heaven." Matthew,
Chapter 18, Verse 10.
Brothers and sisters, to understand how to be a spiritual parent we must first understand what
it means to be a human parent. We must distinguish between a religious parent and a spiritual
one, and between being a moral parent and an immoral one.
In the latter instance, we can observe parenting in the higher animals. For example, a dog
brings puppies into the world without the benefit of education or counseling. The dog knows
instinctually what to do as a mother. As soon as the puppies are born, there comes into being
the emotions that guarantee that the dog will care for and protect the puppies until they are
weaned. This weaning process signifies that the puppies are now able to take care of
themselves and need no further guidance from the mother dog. Beyond this process, the
mother dog senses no further responsibilities. There is no further stimulus to become
anything more than an instinctual animal. The things that a dog does as a parent are not self
conscious. She is not aware that she is doing these things. She simply does them out of
instinct. Therefore, the dog--not being self conscious--lacks a moral nature as well as a
In like manner the human mother is also born with the instinct to care for her newborn child.
She automatically knows how to care for the child; how to feed and nurture the helpless
infant. In the human parent, this process is relatively long, consuming many years. As the
child continues to develop, there is a decrease in the mothering function in direct proportion
to the helplessness of the child. Like the mother dog, the parent also acquires a set of
emotions that will guarantee that the child is taken care of as long as it needs to be. In some
cases these emotions continue long after the appropriate period, the mother considering the
adult child an extension of herself as opposed to realizing that the child is a separate being.
But unlike the animal, the human parent is equipped with a moral sense. This moral sense
is loosely defined as the ability to discern right from wrong, the recognition and acceptance
of responsibility. The animal has no such sense. Not having free will, it can only choose that
which is his animal nature, his instincts. The instinctual drive in humans is not overpowering
as in animals. Having free will, the human has the ability to consciously decline to carry out
parental obligations. This ability to recognize, refuse, or accept one's duty is the proper
definition of the moral sense.
So that a human being, being endowed with a moral sense and with instinct, is equipped to
rear another human being until that human being becomes officially an adult. And though
there are many stages of progressing from the infant to the adult, the human parent is fully
equipped to successfully traverse these stages if he pays attention to and is held by
experience and its moral sense, in addition to the weaker instinctual drives.
The moral sense in addition to providing the parent with the restraining garment to nurture
and rear the child also leads to the religious sense. This is the sense that is present in all
normal human beings that develops in the face of self consciousness of mortality. This
awareness soon causes the human parent to attempt to find what its obligations are to God,
who is realized as the Creator. This causes the parent to instruct the child in his religious
duties. In most cases this starts even before the child is aware of it, and when the child does
comes to himself, he is well on his way to receiving religious instructions. It is similar to
toilet training the child. By the time the child becomes self conscious, he is already toilet
trained and knows no time in his experience when he was not. Now that we have laid the
foundation for being a spiritual parent, we shall now look at the understanding and
instructions for becoming a spiritual parent.
In the spiritual parent, the instinctual , moral, and religious foundations are still present.
Indeed they are the bedrock upon which the spiritual foundation is laid. This phase of
parenthood springs from the experience of having discovered God as spiritual Father within
the soul of the parent. This internal relationship is one of child and Father. The creation of
the soul and God's indwelling spirit creates a new reality within the human, transcending the
instinctual, moral, and religious phases of the human. To begin with, the human parent
understands that he is the parent not only to a human child, but also parent to a child who
will develop a soul, come to know God, and strive to do His will.
Moreover, this understanding begins at once to condition, modify, and eventually change the
parental relationship to the child. Prior to spiritual consciousness, the parent regards the child
as belonging to the parent. And the reactions of the parent while designed to nurture and rear
the child are for the most part selfish in motive. The spiritual parent not only realizes the
great responsibility of rearing a child, but also the great privilege of participating in the
growth and development of another child of God. He recognizes that he is a procreator, not
a creator of the child whom he is parenting.
Now having shifted the parental motivation from being selfish to unselfish, the parent has
indeed become a spiritual parent and begins that quality of care and nurture that is designed
to assist the child in maximizing its potential; in short to become all that it can become. The
parent no longer sees itself as the center, but rather sees the child as the center. Therefore all
the parent's activities are centered around the growth and development of the child. This
relationship is the underlining motivation for everything the parent does. The parent only
asks one question: Is this best for the child? All of the parent's activities are designed to bring
out all of the child's potential, physically, intellectual, morally, and spiritually. All activities
take on spiritual significance now as the parent looks for the spiritual meanings and values
of this unselfish ministry to the child.
In addition, the positive approach to parenting replaces the negative approach. The parent
begins to place increased emphasis on what the child should do and become rather that what
it should not do and become. Therefore, the parent commands the child to do the right thing
rather than commanding the child not to do the wrong thing. "Thou shall not" is replaced
with "thou shall do" thus and so. And this becomes effective because the parent is not only
telling the child what to do but is also demonstrating for the child by doing the right thing
himself. A picture is worth a thousand words. A demonstration of consistent righteousness
is worth more than thousands of words extolling the virtue of doing the right thing. And
when these two approaches are combined, admonishing the right thing to be done in
conjunction with actually doing the right thing, the child combines these spiritual qualities
into his developing character and develops a righteous character.
Finally, under this tutelage, it becomes very easy for the child to discover his spiritual Father
and soon begins that spiritual growth that leads to spiritual maturity. The child becomes a
moral, ethical, and spiritual force in the world that further contributes to making this world
into what it should be. At the same time, the parent soon discovers that in providing this
unselfish ministry on behalf of the Father, he comes to know this very Father since he has
become like Him.
This concludes today's message on how to be a spiritual parent. We hope you find something
in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day. Until next time, this is
Dr. James Perry.