The Expository Files

Our Children - A Lost Generation?


Throughout the history of God's people, generations have turned up missing. They have turned up missing in the sight of God, lost forever to the ways of the world. Why does this happen? Is the blame for this to be placed on the children? The church? The community? The environment? Take a moment now and read Psalm 78:1-8.

From this passage, it is clearly evident that a lack of Bible teaching in the home has lost generations of God's people today. In Proverbs 22:6, the wise man wrote, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." There are a few parents who have taught their children the ways of God both by instruction and example and have still lost them to the world. It is tragic when this happens, but it is the exception and not the rule.

Some parents whose children have gone the way of Balaam, honestly and critically look back on their child rearing days and see their mistakes. Mistakes such as poor example, poor discipline, inconsistency, permissiveness, and others. Rather than see this happen again with someone else, they urgently teach and warn young parents of these errors and stop the trend before it recurs (Tit. 2:4-8). Unfortunately, these parents are in the minority.

Oftentimes, parents who have lost their children to the world failed to see the error of their own ways as their children were growing. They now wonder what made their children stray. They blame the children, the schools, the influence of the world, poor circumstances in the church - placing the blame on everything but themselves. They never honestly ask the question, "Was it something I did or didn't do?" Instead, the cry rings out "We did all that we could!" In turn, they offer no helpful council to prevent this from happening in the future. They are quick to speak of younger parents' children and say how much they see their own children in them when they were young - these children who have since fallen away. Is this supposed to be encouraging instruction for the younger parent? Unfortunately the effects of this mentality have resulted in a missing generation of God's people. What can be said about this? It is a devastating blow to parents and churches alike to see children grow up and fall to the ways of the world (Prov. 10:1; 17:21, 25; 19:26). When this happens, what can we do about it? What can we do to prevent it from happening again and again? It serves no real purpose to berate the parents who have the "I have done all I could" mentality. They usually will not hear and this does not help the present dilemma. Neither is it fruitful to seek their council on child-rearing. In many cases, they offer the same advice that lost their own children to Satan.

We must declare an end to the vicious cycle that caused the loss of children in ages past and fight to keep our children now. We must critically examine our child-rearing day by day and make changes as necessary before it is too late. The two greatest things that have hurt parents are "time'' and "example." In this busy world, parents depend upon other people to raise their children for them without realizing it They are too busy to realize it! Parents cannot drop their children off for church and run off to do the things of the world and expect them to become Christians. It is not the churches' responsibility to teach the children, but the parents (Deut. 6:6-7; Eph. 6:4). Parents cannot depend upon schools to teach morals, respect and love. God gave that responsibility to the parents. Parents cannot depend upon the babysitter or daycare to handle training their children, they must take charge of it We only have our children for a short time, there is not time to waste.

Many parents approach parenting with a "do as I say, and not as I do" attitude and then expect faithfulness. It will not happen. At some point, children will stop following instruction and start following example. The parent who smokes will continually telltheir children it is a bad habit, they'll tell them "don't you do this" and then light one up. The parent who drinks will say, "this is not for children" and wonder why their children take up the bottle when they get the chance. Instruction is part of child rearing but example is the clincher!

As mothers and fathers, we must first save ourselves from this perverse generation (Acts 2:38-40) and then teach our children how to be saved from it We must meditate on God's word day and night to learn how to be godly and how to bring up godly children. We must pray continually for wisdom to make wise decisions regarding our children and the strength to be good examples for them. We must spend time teaching our children. We must not only tell them the right way, we must show them the right way. We must seek the council and advice of successful parents (Psa. 1:1)' those whose children have remained faithful. We must be an active force in their little lives, and teach them to love and respect God. Then and only then will they be faithful.

Let us not lose another generation of our children to the world. Proverbs 30:1 I says, There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother."

By Jonathan L Perz
 From Expository Files 7.12; December 2000