Christian Living

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Wisdom for Parents

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What purpose do parents serve in the modern world? Sometimes parents feel like unpaid chauffeurs, driving the children to and from ball games, band practice, whatever. With families on the move, each member pursuing his own individual plans, and precious little time for family togetherness, parents wonder if they're really necessary for their children.

Surrounded by educational and psychological "experts" on child-rearing, too many parents feel inadequate to the task. Odd, since parents have been raising their children for centuries and, usually, have been pretty successful at it.

The Bible gives parents a much more important role than chauffeurs. In fact, they are so important that one of the Ten Commandments concerns them:

  • "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God will give you." Exodus 20:12

Going against the grain of the world, the Bible imposes an important role on parents: discipline. It is an unpopular word these days. When have you seen a TV sitcom family that had a sane view of discipline? So many schools are lacking in discipline these days, so where will it come from if not from parents? In fact, parental discipline is an imitation of God himself.

  • The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust. Psalm 103:13-14
  • The LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12
  • Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it. Proverbs 22:6
  • Don't fail to correct your children. They won't die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. Proverbs 23:13-14

Does this sound harsh? It shouldn't -- nothing in the Bible condones child abuse. In fact, Christian parents are often reminded to temper discipline with kindness.

  • Now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you scold them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

In both the Old and New Testaments, people of faith are given a critical role: passing on the heritage of faith to their children.

  • We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD . We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did. For he issued his decree to Jacob; he gave his law to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them -- even the children not yet born -- that they in turn might teach their children. So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors -- stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. Psalm 78:4-8

The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J. Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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