Growing In Godliness Blog
“Help for Parents When They have Friction with their Sons and Daughters”Categories: Author: Gary Watson, Parenting, Trusting
Help for Parents When They have Friction with their Sons and Daughters
By Gary Watson
Many scriptures demand that a Christian live a moral life:
- “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).
- “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22; 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:11).
- “Flee from all evil” (2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Tim. 6:11; 1 Cor. 6:18).
- “Put off the old man of sin” (Eph. 4:22, 24).
Historically speaking, when children fall away, there is usually a pattern which could be described as follows:
Four Generation Fade
- Parents don’t make church a high priority for their kids
- Kids grow up & make it less of a priority for their kids
- Those kids grow up & make it no priority for their kids
- Those kids grow up with no concept of God
In other words, priorities today impact generations!
Many Scriptures call for parents to raise their children to be good people.
God spoke of Abraham, saying, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Gen. 18:19)
One prime example of effective parenting comes from the New Testament:
“I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, that without ceasing, I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Tim. 1:3-5).
At many points in their history, the children of Israel turned away from God. One such instance is recorded in the second chapter of the book of Judges. "After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals" (Judg. 2:10-11). The previous generation's failure to properly teach its children about the effect of God's guiding hand on the nation of Israel is doubtlessly a major contributing factor in the latter generation's departure from God.
Parents can make mistakes in raising their children instead of following the clear teaching in Ephesians 6:4. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."
Some examples are:
- Cruel and harsh punishment.
- Unjust punishment. Sometimes children are punished when they do not deserve to be spanked or to have privileges taken from them. Sometimes the parent comes home from a bad day at work totally frustrated. To vent his anger, the parent will spank his children for things for which they would not be punished on any other day of the week. The children can detect this; they know that they were punished unjustly and will grow up hating the parent who habitually acts this way. Parents should not punish their children because they (the parents) do not feel good; that is not the purpose of punishment.
- Inconsistent punishment. Parents will say to their children, "If you do that again, I am going to give you a spanking." The child does it again and nothing happens. The child learns that mom or dad really do not mean what they say.
- Showing partiality. The story of Jacob and Esau shows the sorry results which occur in a family when one or both parents show partiality to their children.
God's word gives priceless guidance for broken hearts, including the broken hearts of parents with wayward children. Their hearts throb with anguish and pain as they struggle with the question, "What can we do to please God and to rescue our children as we pass through this fiery trial?“ David prayed, "Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught… But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice" (Ps. 55:1-2, 16-17).
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (Jas. 1:5).
Following are four suggestions to help parents in this situation:
1. Put God First.
Jesus warned that exaggerated fear for the material needs of life can divert our attention from life's first priority (Matt. 6:24-34). Nothing must be allowed to interfere with our focus on a right relationship with God. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). We must not let excessive anxiety over our children's bad choices and conduct obscure our faith in God.
We must determine to obey God no matter what our children may do. Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Sympathizing with our children's sinful conduct, enabling them to continue in it, or joining with them in sin will harden their hearts. As Paul said, "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). Our children must know we love them, but we love God more!
2. Put Our Trust in God
How could any good result from the tragedy of wayward children? Let us learn to trust that God will bring spiritual good out of our trials as He promises. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (Jas. 1:2-4)
3. Remove Stumbling Blocks and Correct Sin
There are cases where parents have committed sins, even sins against the child, which are a stumbling block to the wayward child. Such parents should openly confess their sins, seek reconciliation, and change their conduct. Jesus said our worship is not accepted until we do so (Matt. 5:23-24). Failure to do so will bring the wrath of Jesus on us on the Judgment Day: "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matt. 18:6). Confessing and correcting our sins against other people opens a door for healing to begin.
4. Press on in Serving God
Let us focus on growing spiritually and on the future reward of heaven, not on our past mistakes or the sins of our children. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).
We must not be embittered, demoralized, or paralyzed by the sinful attitudes and actions of our wayward children. Every lost soul is wayward from God. If we cannot help our own children, we must remember that every soul is equally precious to God, and we can help someone.