I have often observed Christian parents who allow their children to do things, say things, or behave in ways that are questionable, to say the least. These parents may make comments like, “We have to be careful not to be too strict or push religion on our children. That kind of thing can cause children become rebellious!” or “I don’t want to be over protective or shelter them too much. How will they be able to cope on their own in the world if they don’t know all the different types of evil out there?”
At one time, I have to admit that I was not sure what to think about this idea of appeasing children to try and keep them from becoming rebellious. Truthfully, I did not give it a lot of thought until I had children of my own and was searching for the right way to bring them up. I want to share some things that I have learned from God’s Word that have helped me straighten all this out.
First, let’s look at a Biblical example for teaching children. In the book of Deuteronomy, God through Moses instructs the children of Israel and says,
It is evident that God wanted these children to be drenched in His teachings! These parents were to teach it and live it on a daily basis! What can we learn from this example? I’ve learned that it is GOOD and RIGHT to talk to my children about God daily, point out the marvels of His creation, and fill their minds with spiritual things from His Word. The idea that being “too religious” around your children will make them rebellious is simply a lie and one of Satan’s best (in my opinion). I’m not saying that we should make our children spend all day reading the Bible or constantly quote scriptures to rebuke our children if they make mistakes. I have heard stories about parents who punished their children by making them copy verses 100 times each when they made a mistake. This is certainly not what I’m saying! There is a big difference in being drenched in His Word and being drowned with It. What should our children see everyday of our lives? They should see us live a life for God everyday and they should hear us speak about Him “when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Our children should never have cause to doubt our faith in HIM!
Here is another verse that has helped me sort this all out. This verse is telling young people to be obedient and faithful to God while they are young, so that they will be prepared later in life when tough decisions come along. This is a verse that, in my opinion, refutes the idea that so many parents have in our society today. Some seem to think that young people (especially teenagers) are supposed to be rebellious. I’ve heard some say, “Kids have to be allowed to try things for themselves and learn from their mistakes.” There is no place in God’s Word that says anything remotely similar to this thinking! Sin is sin! Young people can easily learn from the examples of others without having to experiment with sin to find out what it’s consequences are! I’ve heard is said that “you do not have to live in a trash can to know what trash is!” As parents we cannot (and must not) compromise in any way. Allowing our children to do things that they know are wrong (no matter how “little” they may appear to be) will only confuse them! A child will view compromising parents as religious hypocrites and this will do MUCH more damage than the “strict parents” could ever cause, in my opinon!
Think about these two examples of children who where faithful to God from an early age……
Samuel is an Old Testament example we can examine. His mother, Hannah, prayed to God for a child and promised to give him back to God if He would answer her prayer. Her prayer was answered and she sent Samuel to Eli, so he could be dedicated to serving the Lord. Samuel grew up in a place where he was taught on a daily basis about God and worship to Him. “But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod” (1Sa 2:18). Did this lifestyle and constant teaching ruin Samuel? Not according to the Bible! Samuel became a great man of God.
What about Timothy? He’s a great example from the New Testament for us to think about. In 2 Timothy, Paul speaking to Timothy says, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2Ti 3:15).
How can parents and children compromise and remain “unspotted from the world” ? We can’t. Simply stated, if we allow our children to sin, we are also guilty of sin. Parents MUST be sincere Christians, consistent with discipline, strong in their convictions, and determined to guard their children’s hearts in order to be pleasing to God. We have to intentionally plan ahead and be prepared to react to situations correctly. Decide ahead of time how you will handle certain things if they come up. Know what God’s Word says about things like: dancing, immodesty, drinking, purity while dating, and any other topic that you fear may rear it’s ugly head in the future. God tells us to train and teach our children because they need our help and guidance. We must be determined to do what is right no matter what!
I fear that the idea that parents should allow their children to “sow wild oats” so that they can “live and learn” is one of Satan’s best ploys today. However, I believe that his lie that we as Christian parents will cause our children to rebel by faithfully instructing them and not compromising truth is even more dangerous! How else will our children learn if we neglect to teach them? Hosea 4:6 records a time when God’s people were ignorant of His will and how God felt about their lack of knowledge.
I pray that Christian parents will wake up, be aware of Satan’s lies, daily drench their children in God’s Word, and be determined to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” !