Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).
Children need to be taught right from wrong, yet they all go through stages in their lives when right and wrong are relative to their situation.
The five-year-old will say, “I didn’t eat any cookies” as he stands there with crumbs on his mouth.
The twelve-year-old will say, “I didn’t cheat on the test” even though he got an A in the subject that just last week he was flunking.
The sixteen-year-old will say, “I was across town when the money was stolen from the store” but the surveillance camera has a clear picture of him with his hand in the till. On it goes.
The crimes get worse. Where does this all end? Where did it all start?
God’s Word tells us that parents are to teach their children God’s ways. The best way to teach is by example. If children grow up in a home that is full of iniquity they will pick up this behavior themselves. Parents have so much influence on their children’s behavior that if the parents were to actually live the Christian lifestyle,their children would follow suit. Of course, the opposite is also true. If our lifestyle is focused on debauchery, our children’s behavior will ultimately reflect the same.
There are so many outside influences upon our children that Christian parents have to be more diligent. Instead of teaching them at home we send our children to government run schools. Many of the teachers are Christians, but the government dictates what must be taught. God’s view of right and wrong is whitewashed and even ridiculed. Our children are taught to embrace deviant lifestyles. Evolution is taught as fact.
Prayer is disallowed. Instead of a God-fearing father and mother teaching them God’s truth, the secular humanistic government run schools are now their mentors. When not in school they have television to turn to for moral training. Do you really want your child’s moral values to be taught by the entertainment industry?
A Christian child growing up in today’s society needs to have a strong Christian example in order for them to hold fast to Christian values. They need to be admonished and encouraged to not follow worldly ways. It is a huge responsibility to raise a child in a morally upstanding home and each day a conscience choice must be made to put God first.
What example are you to your children? God created men and women to marry and to become parents…in that order. We have moved far away from God’s standards. Teenagers, as well as adults, seem to think there is nothing sinful about sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Wrong.
A teenage girl becomes pregnant and either aborts her child or she raises that child alone. The dad wants no responsibility so mom tries to be mom and dad. If the young man and woman decide to “do the right thing” (which should have been the choice before participating in sin) and get married, that marriage is usually doomed. God is not the foundation in that marriage so a godly example is not being set for the child.
Men and women must stop embracing sin and stop living ungodly lives. Their children look to them for leadership. The children are expected to behave in an upright manner, but if dad uses foul language and disrespects mom you can be sure that the children will follow the example he sets. Mom also needs to be an example of a God-fearing woman and be an example to her children. Parents have to grow-up and understand the responsibility of raising children.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
It’s not good for a parent to be immature. Raising children is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. Put away the childish things. Teach your children to honor God with both word and action. You are the example that your child will follow.
Let little Johnny see you read your Bible. Turn off the television and have a family Bible study. Guard your words so foul language, gossip, and anger aren’t the example you show to your children. As a parent you must put away childish things and be an adult.
If a child is brought up in the admonition of the Lord and if dad and mom are devoted to the Lord Jesus as well as to each other, in all likelihood that child will follow that example in their adult life. They will pass godly ways on to their children. On the other hand, a child will notice if a parent says one thing but lives opposite. Be a godly example to your children.Children must be taught. It’s no good to let a child grow without set rules.
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).
I’m not promoting child abuse, but too many parents today do not discipline their children. Each child will respond to a different form of discipline. Take privileges away, give a “time out” and add extra chores, etc. Some will only respond to a spanking. Most of all you must be an example to them. It is a double standard to punish a child for using foul language when they learned that language from you.
Erroneous influences can create barriers to truth. Children learn from their parents and parrot their parent’s views. There are many examples of things children can see their parents do and that they will imitate, such as drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking cigarettes, immorality in the home (such as adultery), and of course physical and/or mental abuse.
All this becomes embedded in a child’s mind to a point that they see nothing wrong in such behavior and it becomes a part of their lifestyle when they become adults. If dad drinks alcohol every night, the child sees no wrong in it. Of course then it becomes a domino effect passing this behavior on to each generation. Behavior that is learned from television, movies, and anyone other than a God-fearing person is an infectious sin-filled disease that spreads rapidly and infects everyone in its path. Destructive lifestyles are always found in a society where God’s Word is denied and there is no condemnation for such lifestyles.
Condoning sinful behavior will result in the eventual demise of that society. If parents won’t stand for God’s truth, the children who they bring into the world will most likely follow the path of destruction.
“The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Proverbs 4:19).
Parents need to be the example that keeps their children from stumbling. Satan wants everyone to stumble into the path of darkness and wickedness. What can we expect from a society that continually glorifies the wicked and depraved but shuns the godliness? We see it happening now. Our society is collapsing. Evil is everywhere and being glorified. Every society that allows a cesspool of filth to permeateits lands and to influence young mindswill reap what they’ve sown.
“Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same” (Job 4:8).
Children do imitate adults around them and find it easy to follow morally wrong behavior. The worst perpetrators of this morally wrong behavior are many of the heroes of this current generation – actors, actresses, and singers. These are the folks that encourage a destructive lifestyle, a behavior that promotes every vile and gross iniquity known to man, and yet it seems the world can’t get enough.
“The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity” (Proverbs 10:29).
If parents allow filthy songs and videos to be the guiding light for children, iniquity will abound. The easing of societal taboos is something that happens quietly at first, under the radar so to speak. The Beatles sang, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Soon after that the Rolling Stones sang “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” As folks become numb to each new broken taboo another one is attacked. Before anyone knows what’s happened,all of society’s taboos are gone leaving a complete and total breakdown of morals.
Each generation that follows becomes more immoral. Today we have popular singers singing songs in praise of having sexual relations with demons. Godly parents are needed to combat this downward spiral. The Bible is God’s word and the standard for every human being. Parents must hold God’s word as the standard of behavior and teach their children to do the same.
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).
The Bible is being deliberately misinterpreted to accommodate those with evil agendas. Does this surprise God?
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote these words long ago. The time he wrote about is today. Sound doctrine is shunned by society and sadly by Christians. Parents have dropped the ball and don’t hold themselves or their children to the standard that God set. They have itching ears and have turned from truth.
What is in store for a society that will not heed the truth? The few Christians who are standing firm on the truth of God’s Word will be shunned and mocked. Society today promotes behavior that glorifies every form of immorality and proclaims there are no taboos, no moral absolutes, and greed is to be praised.
The children of those parents who stand upon God’s Word will be torn between pleasing their peers or their parents. Satan will target them for a strong attack. If the parents have not instilled God’s truths in their children, Satan will have an easy time dragging them down. How do we fight such a deceitful enemy? Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, pastors, and friends need to stand out as solid Christian examples to the children.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:7-8).
It’s not easy to escape the influence of behavior that contradicts God’s Word, but it is possible to resist it. There is always a way to escape evil behavior. The Holy Spirit is always at work within those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Satan will try to thwart any andall efforts by the Holy Spirit to keep Christians firm in their faith. It is a constant battle. Ultimately Satan will lose the battle but not before he convinces many people to follow evil instead of God. Parents need to teach their children to resist the devil. Parents need to be a godly example.
There are more children today being raised by single mothers than ever before. When there is no father in the home that puts a double burden on mothers. You need to make a choice to keep Christ first. Take your children to Sunday school. The youth pastor can be the strong male Christian influence your child needs in order to learn to put Christ first.
The men and women in the congregation can be strong examples to your child of Christian living. Separate from worldly ways and surround yourself and your children with Christian examples. If you love Jesus and make manifest your love for Him in your life, your children will learn from you.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
If we follow this advice, so shall our children. Teach your children the ways of the Lord. Lead by example. Live your life in a way the honors God and your children will learn to honor Him too.
God bless you all,