This article first appeared on Team Jesus Magazine here.
Before You Throw Stones, Don’t.
Sure, most of the world looks on in amazement at the college admissions scandal as the privileged used their wealth and power as a way to advance their children’s education. But, how does this same concept of “whatever it takes for my child” apply to the Body of Christ and Christian parents?
While these wealthy people have broken the law of the land in an attempt do what is “best” for their children, do many Christian parents break the law of God in an attempt to do what is “best” for their children?
The Bible says that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). However, many Christian parents disobey God every day by making sacrifices for their children. They support them in spiritually illegal acts like homosexuality, lying, blasphemy against Jesus, idolatry, fornication, and so much more.
So, would it be fair to scrutinize these well-known parents for breaking man’s law if we violate God’s? Honestly, given the same opportunity, would you have done as these celebrities? Or, do you support your children in their sin or tell them the truth?
Understand this, I am in no wise condoning the actions of these people. God’s Word is true – each man must reap what he has sown (Galatians 6:7). As for what should happen with them, I leave the scandals of this world to the judges of this world. But, I do think that this is an important issue that can be used to shed light on a reality that’s evident within the Body of Christ.
Valuing Your Children Above God: The Modern Day Eli
Eli was a priest in the house of God who refused to correct his children’s wicked works against the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12). These celebrities are what I call “Modern Day Elis.” They used their position as a means to cover their children’s lack. Similarly, Eli understood that his sons were sinning against God, but he made no steps to correct them. While many of these celebrities may not be believers, the principle is still the same.
Look at today’s church. You can see the Eli effect throughout. Known sins are being condoned instead of refuted and corrected. It’s a destructive practice with a destructive end. As for Eli, in the end, it was his failure to correct his children that caused his judgment and the judgment of his family (1 Samuel 2:29).
Job: The Righteous Dad
Job was an example of a man of God that also had wicked children. Contrary to Eli, Job “eschewed evil” (Job 1). Even when his children feasted, which means partied, the Bible says that Job went up and sacrificed on their behalf. He cried out to the Lord for the sins of his children. Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned…” (Job 1:5). That statement indicates to me that Job was not present for the party, but only assumed based on the nature of his children.
Train up a child.
As a mother of five, I would be crazy to think that my children will do everything right. They are human just as I am. My intention is to walk by faith in everything that I do, including parenting. By faith, I stand on the Word that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).
Training means to teach. To teach something, you must first know it. Therefore, training a child is more than verbal instruction, but a holy lifestyle example on the part of the parent. Many Christian parents are causing their children to error when they preach a gospel that they are not living.
We Don’t Condone Our Children’s Sins
Understand , you can love your child and reject their sin. Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” There is no clause in that scripture that says, “except for your children.”
The Father loves through His chastisement. So, we must follow our Heavenly Father who corrects us. Parenting is not easy. All parents face making decisions that will not please their children. My parents had to correct me on many occasions. Before I accepted Christ, there were some lifestyle choices I made that they refused to support. Nonetheless, they kept loving me just the same.
It wasn’t until I got older that I was able to honor them for their stances. I even applied some of that same training to my children. Truth is: “God is love” (1 John 4:8), so that means if God is not in it, neither is love.
God gives us children so that we will provide Him with a “godly seed” (Malachi 2:15). God would not give you children to pull you away from Him. He gives anyone children to dedicate them to Him.
Every good parent wants the best for their children. But, giving them “the best” should not require compromising your relationship with God. We cannot disobey God for our children. Understand that as believers who know the truth of salvation, we must not only oversee our child’s natural life but also their soul which is eternal.
So, don’t be a Modern Day Eli and sit back and let your children walk into a path of destruction. Be a Job and eschew evil and then go to God on behalf of your child.
I pray this helps moms and dads.