Responsible Parents, Responsible Children

In this Age of the Internet, electronic gadgets, wireless technology, and an ever-changing media, children are in no way short of options to shape their thinking. Over the years, repeated studies have shown that television has considerable influence over our children, not to mention the often-reported cases of children being lured online by unscrupulous individuals into sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse.
Responsible Parents
With this in mind, it is crucial that we train our children according to God’s will as instructed by the Holy Bible. Children are the future leaders of our churches and our world; thus, we must prepare them to fulfill God’s calling. Children can learn to obey God at an early age. For example, King Josiah of Israel obeyed God completely. He started to reign when he was 8 years old. 2 Kings 22:2 tells us that Josiah walked in all the ways of David his father.

Sin should not be treated casually. Many times we see people of all ages, suffering and wonder what went wrong. The commandments of God should be in the hearts of the parents; yet, when parents have not been obeying and teaching their children about God, is it possible that God will forget their children? (Hosea 4:6).

The Ten Commandments were given to us to teach our children and grandchildren. David, although God had forgiven him, had to pay the penalty for his sins. God told David that his family would suffer because of his transgressions; and sure enough his son Absalom, ultimately killed his brother. David made a half-hearted effort to correct his children, but he did not punish Absalom.

A child has every right to disobey his or her parents when the instructions are against God’s law. For example, Asa removed his mother from being queen because she made an idol in a grove. Asa cut down the idol, stamped it and finally burned it. Another biblical example of a child righteously disobeying his parent is in 1 Samuel 19:1-3 when Saul told his son Jonathan and his servants to kill David. Saul was jealous of David. Jonathan disobeyed Saul and instead warned David about Saul’s vendetta against him.

Jesus warns children to honour their parents and have respect for them. While honouring parents, children must remember that maintaining loyalty to God is an even higher priority. If you have unbelieving parents, you should respect and honour them, but not allow them to alter your devotion to God. On the other hand, it is the parents’ responsibility to care gently for their children and instruct them, even if they are disobedient.

We are commanded in Deuteronomy 6:6 that these words should be in our hearts and we should teach them diligently to our children in every aspect of life.

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand.” (Deuteronomy 6:8)

This is telling us that we should love God, think constantly about His commandments and teach them to our children morning, noon, and night. Most importantly, we are to live our daily lives by the guidelines in His Word. God emphasized over and over the importance of parents teaching their children His ways. God-fearing parents instruct their children in faith and devotions, while teaching them to pray and read the Bible.
Responsible Parents, Responsible Children<br />
From time to time, you will come into contact with children who are not focused on Christ in their lives whether at home, school, church, or in the neighbourhood. We should steer them towards God by our examples and our words. We should never allow our children to follow the world’s standards. We have to set godly standards at home for them to take to school, on the playground, or wherever they go in life.

We have to coach them on how to dress, the language they speak, their behaviour, and friends they keep. This means we need to know who their friends are. Many times we allow our children to attend sleepovers without giving thought to the character of their friends, or more importantly, the parents. This is a very negligent and possibly dangerous action for a parent to take, concerning their children.

The first Commandment with promise is for children to honour their mother and father that they may live a long life (Exodus 20:12). We need to encourage our children to become wise, instructing them as David taught Solomon, his son, to seek after wisdom (Proverbs 4). This encouragement may have prompted Solomon to ask God for wisdom. All wisdom comes from God and can be passed on from parents to children, if we take the time to teach them.

We can expect conflict as believing Christians who keep God’s commandments and worship on the 7th Day Sabbath (Saturday). However, this should never lead us to compromise and encourage our children to break the Sabbath by taking them to sporting activities, or parties held by families and friends, school events, and other such functions due to peer pressure or some need we feel to make our children ‘fit-in’ with social expectations to please others. God should be pleased first because He is our priority.

From an early age, we as parents, must set the example and say no to our families and friends when their events prevent us or our children from obeying the commandments of God. If we allow ourselves or our children to participate in such activities on the Sabbath, or annual Holy Days, our children will want to take advantage of this ‘exception to the commandments’ from time to time and may continue this disobedience into their adulthood.

When children get older and begin to really listen to sermons at church, when they hear the teaching that the Sabbath Day is a holy day of rest, but see conflicting behaviour at home, they may begin to think there are double standards and become confused. This may contribute to them losing interest because the world out there is an easier choice.
Also, as parents we don’t want to pressure them, for fear of losing them, so we back off on instruction, leaving them on their own, living and dressing as the world. They pierce and tag their bodies in every possible place, which leads them to forgetting church and the Sabbath. These children are now thinking that going to church is their parents’ choice, which they don’t have to follow. We hope that we will not lose them to the world forever, and pray for God to save them before it is too late.

We are told in Proverbs 13:24 to discipline our children. As loving parents, it’s not easy to discipline our children; however, lack of discipline puts a parent’s love in question, because it shows a lack of concern for our children’s character development. If we don’t discipline our children starting from a young age, they will grow up without a clear understanding of right and wrong—with no direction to their lives. Discipline is an act of love.

Children trust adults and through that trust their capacity to have faith in God grows. God holds parents and adults who influence young children accountable for how they affect the little ones ability to trust. Three ways which we could cause these little ones to lose faith: tempting them, neglecting or demeaning them, and teaching them false doctrine.

Let’s be responsible parents and realize that if we want to have children who are responsible and put God first in their lives, as parents, we must put God first in our lives.

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