The other day I saw the following quote as a meme on my Facebook timeline. The quote is from a popular Washington D.C. pastor. At last count this quote was liked by 732 people and shared by 213 people. It is a safe assumption that all of the likes and shares were from those who identify as Christians.
While the quote does contain some elements of truth, it leaves readers with having to choose one statement over another. We could call this a rather-than fallacy or a fallacy of comparison. Here is the quote,
I don’t want to push my children.
I want them to feel the pull of the Holy Spirit.
I understand the sentiment. It is a desire to see one’s child directed to God’s path by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is statement #2. I like that statement.
Statement #1 might be true, at least partially. Unless the Spirit draws somebody (our child or otherwise), we push in vain. We can also push in a manner that is unhealthy.
However, those two ideas do not have to be mutually exclusive. Contrasting these two statements together demonstrates a theological misunderstanding of what is called means. That is, the Holy Spirit uses means to accomplish his work. When a person is converted, it is the work of the Holy Spirit alone. But Romans 10 teaches us that to accomplish this work, the Holy Spirit uses the means of preaching.
In the quote in question, could it be that the Holy Spirit would pull our children onto God’s path through the means of our push? Christian parenting is not intended to be an idle endeavor while we await God’s work. God may very well use your pushing words to pull your child to himself.