The Strong Family by Charles R. Swindoll – Chapter 3


Positive Partner of Support

In this chapter, Mr. Swindoll discusses five qualities of a great mom gleaned from 2 Timothy 1:4-7.

  • Transparent Tenderness
  • Authentic Spirituality
  • Inner Confidence
  • Unselfish Love
  • Self-Control

Mr. Swindoll uses Proverbs 24:3-4 to describe the rock-solid home.

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (emphasis added by Mr. Swindoll)

Mr. Swindoll defines the emphasised words above as follows,

“Wisdom is the ability to see with discernment – to view life through God’s eyes. Understanding is the skill of responding with insight – reading between the lines. Knowledge is learning with perception – having a teachable spirit and a willingness to learn … even from our children.

A Mother’s Contributions

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 4-7

Transparent Tenderness

In verse 4, Paul mentions Timothy’s tears. Mr. Swindoll states,

Paul remembered Timothy’s tenderness, a trait likely passed down from his mother.

Tenderness is defined as, “a tendency to express warm and affectionate feeling.” This is definitely a trait we typically tend to learn from our mothers and not our fathers. Who do children typically run to when they are hurt? Who do they want to comfort them when they are sick? I admire those father’s who are able to demonstrate this characteristics as well. I believe that Jesus would have been a man with this quality. We know that he was compassionate (Matthew 14:14)

It is important that our children have a tender place to run to, especially when they have made a mistake. We do not have to condone what they have done, but we do need to hear them out, give them a hug, and try and point them in the right direction. I think the hardest time to parent is when they no longer run to a parent and seek shelter. If this quality is instilled in them, we can hope they will return to it, no matter how old they are. We can also hope it is something they will demonstrate to their children.

Authentic Spirituality

Paul talks about Timothy’s faith in verse 5 and says it was handed down from his grandmother to his mother. It is clear that this faith was handed down from mother to mother to son, which shows that men and women, BOTH, should have this quality. This is also talked about in Acts 16. Many believe that his father was an unbeliever by implication of the discussion about the mother in these two verses.  This should give hope to many who are the only Christian parent to their child.

Timothy’s faith is described as honest, rich, and handed down in the NIV. The Amplified version is full of adjectives,

I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith (the [b]leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), [a faith] that first lived permanently in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am [fully] persuaded, [dwells] in you also.

The word translated ‘sincere’ comes from the Greek term, anhupocritos, basically it means authentic. Authentic is defined as: “quality of being genuine or not corrupted from the original.” To me this also says that it wasn’t just something he did because his grandmother and mother did it. It was genuine, real.

If his grandmother and mother did not have their own authentic faith, do you really think that Timothy would have followed them? You can not just say it, you have to live it, you have to show it.

Inner Confidence

Mr. Swindoll states,

One reason Timothy stayed true to the Scriptures and stood strong in his ministry was that he had learned inner confidence from his mother. Moms, do you know that God wants to use you to build healthy self-esteem in your child?

Verses 7 tells us that God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. What are those? Let’s see. I think the Amplified version defines these well,

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Commentators define the word translated as power as,

The power to overcome all obstacles and to face all dangers. It is closely linked with the sense of παρρησία boldness.

It seems to me, if our children today had more of these qualities, they would not give into peer pressure, look to hit singers, actors, and sports stars as their role models, and worry about wearing the latest trends pushed on them by advertisements. They would have the power to overcome these things. They would also find love at home instead of giving their bodies away in an attempt to find it elsewhere. They would be able to have more self-control over their own bodies and their actions. Unfortunately, many moms (and some dads) actually feed these things to their kids. It really is a mom thing though, dads do not typically tend to give in to or push these things on their kids. Well, unless you are talking about participation in a sport, THEN the dads are out in full force. It’s important for us as parents to have our own inner confidence, knowing who we are and who are children are. We can not pass down something that we do not already possess.

Mr. Swindoll asks,

Based on our study so far, how can you help your children find the strength they need to enjoy life?

That seems like a good place to take a break. To be continued …


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