Parent's Responsibility to Children & the Bible

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While the Bible does not go into detail outlining exactly how each parent-child problem is dealt with, it does offer general guidelines that enable one to find through their application the right direction.

One such guideline is suggested in Luke 2:51, a direct statement of the condition existing in the family of Jesus Christ. The passage reads, "And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and he was subject to them". The "he" in the passage was Jesus and the "them" was Mary and Joseph. The broad principle illustrated in this passage teaches that parents are given by God the authority to direct, guide, teach and discipline their children. If the son of God accepted the authority of earthly parents how much more ought the sons and daughters of men be under the authority of their parents.

The next principle illustrated by this statement in Luke shows that children are to accept their direction and to be subject to their parents.

To provide that direction for their children, parents must take the job of being parents seriously. Being a parent is much more than fulfilling a biological function. It means being concerned about every aspect of the child's growth and development. It means caring where the child is and who his friends are. It means knowing his interests and encouraging right and proper ones and discouraging - even forbidding - those that are inappropriate or dangerous. For a parent to say "I can't do anything with my child" is an admission of "I don't know how to be a parent".

Again, the Bible speaks of this problem. In Ephesians 6:1-4, the Bible talks of children's responsibilities and fathers' responsibilities. Although the Bible in this passage mentions only father, the spirit of the text implies the work of mother, too. First these verses say, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right". And then the passage continues, "And you fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord". The children are called upon to be obedient to the parents. This is not license for cruel or inhuman treatment by parents, for the Bible adds the qualifying phrase, "In the Lord". Children have the right to expect reasonable direction and guidance from their parents, and the parents are called upon to nurture their children. That is, to rear them, to bring them up, in the "chastening and admonition of the Lord". That final phrase means that the parents are to imitate God as much as possible in the admonishing or urging given to the children, and also to imitate God in punishing when such becomes necessary. It is chastening or punishing based upon love, not revenge; upon caring, not indifference; upon betterment, not defeat.

Let me suggest these simple rules in assuming the responsibility of being a parent. First, pray often for understanding, patience and skill. Secondly, treat your child as a human being who deserves respect and authority. Thirdly, apply the golden rule of the Bible, which we so often simplify as "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". And fourthly, don't wait until tomorrow to start! Start yesterday. I mean by that, don't be afraid to admit that something done in the past was wrong. When you've been wrong, admit it and show that you want to do better.

Finally, the children we train today will be the parents of tomorrow. We must do-better than just teach them all the things they will determine never to do when they are parents. In Colossians 3:21, the writer said (again to the fathers), "Provoke not your children that they be not discouraged". A good prayer to remember is this, "Father, these are your children on loan to me. Help me to teach them in such a way that they will one day return to you and you will want them. Help me never to discourage their growth as your children. In Jesus name, Amen".

May the Lord bless you in the rearing of your children.

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