Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology

Faithful Parenting

by Pastor Gary W. Hendrix

(November 16, 2000)

Proverbs 19 expresses interesting and much needed counsel for parents: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." First, the period of youth is a time of hope. The whole of life looms ahead of youth. If proper direction is received, the prospect is for a productive life and a glorious eternity. However, if serious mistakes are made in the period of one's youth, there may never be a full recovery.

Second, the means for imparting this instruction and correction. Children and young people do not automatically make the correct decisions and follow the right paths. Rather, the inexperience of youth coupled with the love for wrong, which is native to every human heart, inevitably predispose the young to make choices that have the potential of destroying them in body and soul. Never have young people been faced with more potentially devastating choices than today. All need chastening! They need close and repetitive instruction in righteous principles: instruction given with love and patience, yet instruction which will not buckle when resisted. They also desperately need correction when they commence moving in the wrong direction. Youth provides the opportunity to change in a way which latter life rarely does; but, there must be wise and caring counselors who are willing to press for those needed changes.

The third lesson in Proverbs 19:18 is that the alternative to chastening in the time of one's youth may be nothing less than utter destruction. When the sins of youth are permitted to go unchecked so that they become ingrained habits of life, the results are devastating. Selfishness, deceit, unbridled anger, abusive speech, sensual impulsiveness, irresponsibility - these are but a few of the sinful tendencies of youth which will produce destruction unless chastened. Moreover, the eternal destiny of the soul is often settled by early adulthood.

The fourth and major lesson of our text is that the burden for chastening children in their youth and, thus, laboring to avert their destruction belongs to their parents: "chasten YOUR son while there is hope. It would be difficult to exaggerate the burden of responsibility belonging to parents.

Yet, who can find parents today who are committed to the demanding task of chastening their children? There are parents who are committed to providing a rich cultural and intellectual nurturing for their children; but how rare it is to find those who are also commited to the moral and spiritual development of their children's characters. This task is too demanding and requires too much self-denial for most parents. It may be that many parents do not themselves possess the character needed to develop strong character in their children. Whatever the reasons, the most frightening thing respecting the young people of today is not the young people themselves, but the selfishness, the unprincipleness, and the unfaithfulness of their parents.

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