As a parent, what has a greater effect on your child: saying what you mean or meaning what you say?

If you merely say what you mean, you will likely not be correctly understood by your child. But, consider for a moment the potential effects if you really mean what you say—your actions will be understood and backed up by your words, creating integrity and trustworthiness. This provides the potential for leaving a deeper and longer lasting impression on your child.

Unlike humans, Almighty God always says what He means and means what He says.

For example, John 3:16 says that God loves us. In Romans 5:8 Paul writes: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God says He loves those He created and, in a single act, demonstrated His unconditional, everlasting love for mankind.

Would you say you love your children? Do you tell your children you love them? Do you really mean the words you say? Do you demonstrate genuine love to them on a regular basis?

Sometimes I hear parents make comments in an attempt to excuse their inability to effectively love their children. “I never really knew a parent’s love.” “I just love them the only way I know how.” “I don’t tell them I love them, but my kids know I do.”

Genuine love is exemplified in the life of Christ and is recorded to be an example for God’s people to follow, showing us how to demonstrate genuine love to our children. Because the power of God is at work within those who believe in Him, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us to love as He does.

• Jesus demonstrated love through both word and deed. In following His example, we should choose to consistently communicate love to our children through speech, writing, and action.

• Jesus’ love is unconditional. It does not depend on our love for Him. Therefore, as parents, our love for our children should not depend on their actions toward us.

• Jesus loves sacrificially. There may be occasions, as a parent, that you are called to sacrifice for your child’s greater good.

• Jesus’ love is everlasting. Even though seasons of life bring change, our love for our child should be constant.

In demonstrating genuine Christ-like love to your child you will be training another generation to love as Jesus does.