Am I To Blame For a Wayward Child?
by W. Frank Walton
A. One of the most heartbreaking parts of life is for a parent to lose a child to the world (II Samuel 18:33). Guilt probes the sensitive conscience of a loving parent, “Am I to blame?”
B. The Bible clearly teaches a balance of parental duty to influence a child (Proverbs 23:26), as well as a child’s freewill accountability to God (Romans 14:12). Theme: Whether past errors were large or small in child-rearing, parents can still prayerfully love and positively influence their wayward children to come back to the Lord.
1. Parental Responsibility to a Child – Proverbs 22:6
A. The general truism in Proverbs is a parent can have great influence on a child (Proverbs 4:10-14).
B. God holds us responsible to teach our children in word and deed (Ephesians 6:4, Titus 2:4-5, Deuteronomny 6:4-9).
2. A Child’s Freewill Accountability to God – Ezekiel 18:20
A. Each person is directly accountable to God, regardless if the parent was good or bad (Ezekiel 18:4-18).
B. Environment is influential but not omnipotent in shaping a child (Ezekiel 18:30-32; cf. Luke 15:11-32).
3. Parent-Child Scenarios in the Battle for the Soul
A. In 1 & 2 Kings, there were 40 kings of Israel and Judah:.
1. The ideal of 3 good fathers had good sons: Asa & Jehoshaphat - I Kings 15:11, 22:43
– 2. The tragedy of 28 bad fathers had bad sons: Ahab & Ahaziah – I Kings 16:30, 22:52-53
3. The heart-break of 5 good fathers had bad sons: Hezekiah & Manasseh – II Kings 18:3, 21:2
4. The freewill hope of 4 bad parents had good sons: Aman & Josiah – II Kings 21:20, 22:22
B. David as a father (Acts 13:22)
1. Solomon was taught properly (Proverbs 4:3-4).
2. Adonijah was spoiled by laxity, which hurt him later (I Kings 1:5-6; cf. Proverbs 19:18, 23:13-14).
4. Present Influence on a Wayward Child
A. Admit any Shortcomings and Sins to an Affected Child (I Samuel 7:15-8:3; cf. Proverbs 23:26).
B. Write Them Love Letters of Spiritual Concern (Proverbs 14:18, 16:21, 24; 25:11)
C. Pray Fervently for Their Return to God (James 5:16b, Colossians 4:3-4).
D. Show Christ-like Love to Them without Compromising Truth (I Samuel 3:13 vs. I Corinthians 13:7-8).
Conclusion: We cannot turn back the clock, but we can learn from our past mistakes in parenting. We can make the best use of our time we have left in spiritually influencing and reclaiming our children. While there is life and love, with God there is hope for positive change (Matthew 19:26).