When Children Go Wrong
I. The raising of a child is a fearful responsibility.
A. God entrusts you with the care of a precious soul wrapped up in a tiny body.
B. All souls belong to God - Ezekiel 18:4
C. Each child is a precious gift
1. Jacob understood this - Genesis 33:5
2. The Psalmist so stated - Psalm 127:3
D. God expects each parent to care for the child’s physical needs - I Timothy 5:8
E. As well as their spiritual needs - Ephesians 6:4
1. Knowing the increasing corruption of our society, this becomes ever more difficult.
2. Children are introduced to immoral ideas at younger and younger ages.
3. Once innocence was protected, but no more.
4. Yet, the power of the gospel remains as evidenced by the young people who have turned against the world to fight in the Lord’s army.
F. What joy it is to a parent when his child walks the paths of righteousness - Proverbs 23:24-25
1. John speaks of that joy with his spiritual children - III John 4
II. What anguish comes when a child is snared by Satan
A. I have seen many parents grieved by the foolish choices of their children - Proverbs 17:21, 25
B. In their anguish they will cry out, “Where did we fail?”
C. I have talked to many parents and it often doesn’t take long to learn that the vast majority have failed to follow God’s guidelines
1. We often see godly men in the Scriptures raising ungodly children.
(1) His sons despised God’s ways - I Samuel 2:12, 17
(2) Eli knew of their deeds and even scolded them - I Samuel 2:22-25
(3) For their sins, God desired to put them to death, but Eli also shared responsibility - I Samuel 2:29; 3:11-13
(1) Samuel did not learn from the mistakes of Eli. His sons too grew up to be wicked men - I Samuel 8:1-3
(2) We gain a hint why. Samuel was on the road a lot - I Samuel 7:15-17
(1) David had two sons rise in rebellion against him Absalom and Adonijah as well as sons who committed other sins.
(2) We are told why - I Kings 1:6
D. A child without correction brings shame - Proverbs 29:15
1. The paper speaks of Canadian communities taking children away from parents who use a rod (a switch). It continues the trend of any restrictions on children being seen as abuse.
2. Too many Christians have been caught up in these unreasoned, populist ideas. Most lose their children during their teenage and young adult years.
III. However, it is a mistake to believe that the way a child is raised is 100% how he will turn out as an adult
A. The Bible records a few evil parents who somehow managed to produce godly offspring. As well as godly parents who raised wicked offspring
1. Azariah was a good king, who followed after the ways of his father - II Kings 15:3
2. His son, Jotham was also a good king - II Kings 15:32-34
3. Yet Jotham raised up an evil king - II Kings 16:1-2
4. Yet Ahaz son was Hezekiah, a very good king - II Kings 18;1-3
5. This particular series is interesting because each was an adult when he became king
B. Ezekiel 18 uses the illustration of a righteous man having a wicked son and a wicked man having a righteous son to prove the point that each makes his own choices - Ezekiel 18:20
1. We should understand that free-will always remains. Adam and Eve were the offspring of God, directly created by him, but it did not stop them from choosing to sin.
2. Was it the fault of the father of the prodigal son that his strayed for a time? - Luke 15
C. Often times we see that a child follows in the ways of his parents, but at times, because of free-choice, will turn out differently despite his upbringing - Ecclesiastes 2:18-19
IV. What about Proverbs 22:6?
A. A well instilled habit is hard to break, but not impossible.
B. Many of the proverbs are not hard-fast rules. They are principles that usually are true.
1. Proverbs 10:27 - The righteous tend to live long and the wicked tend to die early, but we know exceptions.
a. Does this mean that being good doesn’t lead to a long life?
b. No, the trend is there. There is just no guarantee.
2. Proverbs 16:7 - The righteous tend to have fewer enemies
a. Does this mean that a righteous man will have no enemies?
b. No, consider Christ, Stephen, or Paul
c. As Paul stated, we do our best - Romans 12:18
C. What it means is that when a child is raised properly, the odds are that the habits instilled in him will keep him on the straight and narrow. When a child is raised poorly, the odds are that the habits he develops will encourage him to stray.
1. Isaac managed to raise both Esau (wicked) and Jacob (righteous)
2. Jacob managed to raise Joseph (righteous), but his other sons
a. Reuben committed incest
b. Levi and Simeon murdered a town
c. The brothers plotted to kill their own brother Joseph, but settled for selling him into slavery.
d. Given how wicked his brothers were at times, it is a wonder that Joseph came out so well.
3. Isaac and Jacob were not ideal parents. Reading the Scriptures, you can see many mistakes that they made. But because all sons did not follow the same path shows that each had a free choice.
A. When considering a man for eldership or as deacons - I Timothy 3:4-5, 12; Titus 1:6
1. A righteous man could have a son who strays.
2. Careful consideration should be made to see if his children left despite his efforts or because of his lack of effort.
B. When we have done our best, and a child fails to live righteously, as hard as it may be, we must continue on with our own lives - Philippians 3:13-14
1. We cannot live in past failures or self-doubt
2. Each must give an account of his own life - Romans 14:12
3. Destroying your own faith will not rescue that child.
C. As we have opportunity, make every effort to instill good morals now. Habits, good or bad, are hard to break. Instill good habits in your children that will last them a lifetime. There is no better legacy that you can leave them.