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MINISTER'S MESSAGE > MAY 2009
Do Not Sin Against the Child
In Genesis 42:22, Reuben rebuked his brothers for their mistreatment of Joseph. In this rebuke he admonished them, "Did I not say to you, 'Do not sin against the child,' and you did not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us."
Our society has a convoluted notion of what it means to properly raise children. Today's child wants everything while wanting for nothing. There are several things parents must do to properly raise children, and they have nothing to do with houses, toys, or money. We indeed sin against our children when we fail to properly instruct them in the following ways.
We sin against our children when we fail to put God and the church first in all things. God has said "I am the LORD and there is no other" (Isa 43:11; 45:5-6). Yet parents repeatedly put worldly and trivial matters ahead of the God who made them in his image. Jesus clearly and unequivocally taught that loyalty to him takes precedence over family (Luke 14:26). Our children should never hear us discuss whether or not we are going to put family before the Lord who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Rev 1:5). He is to have the preeminence in all things (Col 1:18).
We sin against our children when we fail to practice what we preach. Children aren't dumb. They see if we are living up to the standards we claim to embrace. If we claim to believe in the power and efficacy of prayer, then our children need to see and hear us pray. This includes more than just at the dinner table! If we claim to put the Lord first, then our children need to see us striking a proper balance between work and recreation.
Finally in this regard, our children need to see us involved in wholehearted, thankful worship to God. Bible study and worship are privileges and should be approached as such. Our children should hear us sing with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts. They should see us in meditation as we observe the Lord's Supper. They should watch us give joyfully and liberally to the work of the Lord (Don't fool yourself! Our kids know how much we make, how much we give to the Lord, and how much we spend on ourselves!) Our children should see us with Bibles and hearts open as the word of God is preached.
We sin against our children when we allow them to put things before the Lord. Some parents are more faithful than the children living under their own roof. Some parents who would not normally miss services allow their children to miss for any and every distraction under heaven, be it school, work, or worse still – sports. We cannot make every decision for our children, but when it becomes obvious that they intend to make a wrong (i.e., sinful) choice, then parents are obligated to step in and make the right choice and explain why such was done. Remember! YOU ARE THE PARENT!!!
We sin against our children when we fail to nurture and admonish them in the Lord. "Nurture" is from the Greek paideia, meaning to tutor, instruct, or correct through discipline. Whereas our first two points of discussion focus on unintentional teaching, nurturing is intended training and teaching. "Admonition" is a mild rebuke or word of warning. In 1 Corinthians 10:11, Paul said the history of Israel was recorded "for our admonition." Included in admonition is an explanation of the consequences of doing what is right and what wrong. It discourages ungodliness, but it encourages godly living by extolling its benefits.
Like Reuben of old, too many parents see the chickens come home to roost when they fail to properly teach their children and fail to give them a proper example. May their blood never be required of us! TC
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January 2009 - Divine Encouragement For the New Year
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