We do a pretty good job focusing on the responsibilities of others more so than our own selves. Allow me to utilize a simple example. When it comes to submission within a marriage, many do an “excellent” job of pointing out that the wife must submit to her own husband. Some people go so far as to try to make the scriptures teach that all women must submit to all men in all things. Clearly, that is not what is in view but still, some do such a “great” job at pointing this out, their position is no longer scriptural. While doing this, they quickly gloss over the reality that the husband MUST love their wife. I’m not sure where this idea came from that the wife’s submission is more important than the husband’s duty to love his wife, but that is not biblical. It is wrong and this kind of thinking needs to be corrected immediately.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
As parents, we do a wonderful job explaining to our kids who misbehave that this passage is authoritative for them. Some completely neglect the fact that they are failing their children as parents. Why? Or the better question might be, how can this be? I believe the principle resides in the very next verse there in Ephesians 6.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
How often are parents not fulfilling their obligation of raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? As parents, we will kindly give ourselves a pass with our own poor behavior towards our children. Think about all the moments of being so hyper-critical of your children? We demonstrate to them a lack of training on our part. They should just “know” how to do something. Are we mind readers? We quickly remind others that we cannot read their minds and yet we may have this irrational expectation for our own children. In the Gospel, we are introduced to an element of parenting that demands that we consider the feelings of our children. In first century, culture, a father’s authority in the house was absolute, bad behavior and all. This is no longer the case.
When Paul says, “provoke not your children to wrath”, he is referencing harsh parenting. Take a moment to think about some possible consequences of such parenting. Does the child naturally rebel? Why? So, we need to slow down because the premise of “I am the parent, and it is this way because I said so” is not always true. This is a sinful attitude and behavior towards our own very children! When disciplining your children, are you under control? What right do you have to tell your children that they need to be disciplined when you obviously need disciplined yourself?
“Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” involves training and teaching. As parents, we need to raise our children on God’s word. If we ourselves are not trained and taught of God’s word, how can we expect our children to be? Children are often viewed as some of the most vulnerable creatures here on the earth. Unfortunately, many are not nurtured properly or successfully. Local churches have failed the children among them at times. The mothers and fathers have failed their children at times. Some children are left to rear themselves. This is not the way God would have it to be! We need to parent God’s way! Our children need to understand that they must listen and obey. This does not negate OUR responsibility to them! We as parents, must assume the role that God has given us! We MUST provide instruction and correction. What happens when parents are not parents? Guess what? The child still grows up and their spiritual development is compromised.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Children need to learn “what is right”. They need to know and understand that obedience to God should be the ultimate motivation for everything in life. This will only be accomplished by parents who are consistent in teaching their children to obey God because it is right and not because they say, “because I said so.” Obedience is not compliance only. Obedience requires listening, understanding, trust, and doing what is required for all the right reasons. Your children will see that in your actions.
What are some ways we can help our children?
1. Expectations – Some things are not optional or negotiable.
2. Consequences – Fair and understandable.
3. Consistency – Consider rewards and punishments.
4. Demonstration – Be the Christian example for them!
The world is not going to do the right thing for you. The world is going to fail you. There will be times when the public-school education system will fail you. There may be times when the local church will fail you. Christians will fail you. When this happens, it is not God’s fault. He is not to blame. We have shifted all our responsibilities off to someone else or some other institution. You will not get a pass for the failures of others. We all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. God is not going to list out the failures of others when he is judging me. He is going to hold me accountable for the things that I have done in my life, not someone else’s.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Do you keep your kids in the light or darkness?
by Lee Elkins