Franklin Graham regrets it now, but in his youth he was wild and rebellious. One day he went roaring up to his dad’s house on his Harley Davidson motorcycle to ask for some money. Dressed in his leathers, dusty and bearded, he burst into his father’s living room—and walked right into a meeting of Billy’s executive board.

Without hesitation, Billy Graham identified Franklin as his son. Then he proudly introduced him to every member of the board. Billy did not apologize for his son or show any shame or guilt. Franklin wrote later in his autobiography, Rebel With a Cause, that the love and respect his father gave him that day never left him, even during his rebellious years.

Our children don’t have to earn our love. To withhold love for our own selfish purposes is to follow the enemy, not God. God’s love for us is undeserved. We did nothing to earn it; no good in us merited it. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In all our relationships, especially with our children, we must genuinely show that same kind of love.

We are called to treat our children, and all people, with love and respect. It helps to remember what we were when Christ died for us.