We sometimes forget that our children will be the next generation to lead our country. They will be the religious leaders, politicians, and businessmen of tomorrow. They will be the ones who will most likely be taking care of us when we can no longer take care of ourselves. Eventually and inevitably, we will pass the reins on to them.
That’s why it is ever so important that we raise them in the Lord. We need to teach them right from wrong as right from wrong is distinguished in the Bible. I personally believe a society can rise or fall depending on its morals and values. Our children need to be taught the right morals and values. What I mean by that is that need to be given a solid Christian foundation. We want to put our future into the hands of those who know the difference between right and wrong, who have a conscience and are guided by a moral compass.
We need to understand that our children need to be taught these things. They don’t come to them naturally. That’s why it’s incumbent upon us to do the right thing by teaching about our Lord and Savior and how He expects us to live our lives.
We adults don’t fully grasp the responsibility that God has entrusted to us. He has given our children to us as a blessing and expects us to raise them to love the Lord and be responsible citizens. This is what God wants for us to do for our children. And He expects our children to be good Christian examples in our world.
In our text, Jesus warns us about tempting our children to sin. We know how impressionable children can be. They follow our example whether we realize it or not. When we neglect to train our children in the Lord--which is a temptation for them to disregard the importance of their Christian faith--we send them the message to them that a Christian upbringing is unimportant. This is tempting our children to sin. They see from our example that Christianity isn’t important, so they reason why should they try to live according to God’s rules? Why not do what feels good? Who cares what God demands. It’s not important. "My parents have taught me that by their example."
I realize there are instances when we have done everything in our power to raise our children in the Lord, and for some reason, they want to go their own way and do their own thing even if it is contrary to God’s will. That happens, unfortunately. But there is a disturbing trend happening in our country. Less and less young people are attending church, and fewer and fewer of them consider themselves Christian. This is unsettling for a nation that was once predominantly Christian--at least in name. To what can this be attributed? Parents no longer see the value of raising their children to know the Lord. As a result, more and more of the younger generation is turning away from God.
Not too long ago I read some statistics about the beliefs among young people. Some years ago there was a much higher percentage of young people who believed that the Bible was the inspired word of God. Today, many young people believe the Bible is just a book and isn’t authoritative for their lives. In the past, a greater percentage of young people went to church. Among young people that has decreased. Many young people believe they don’t need the church to get in touch with God.
My question is from where does the younger generation get these ideas? My guess is that mom and dad didn’t emphasize enough the importance of the Bible and the church when the children were home. They didn’t exemplify the Christian faith for their children--which their children picked up on. The parents themselves may not have been well-grounded in the Christian faith. That deficit was passed on to their children. And now the children wander about with no spiritual direction. They do what is right in their own eyes, which may be sinful in God’s eyes.
The church isn’t without blame either. Religious instruction often times consists of rote memorization of facts, without any explanation as to how such facts apply to their lives. Then we wonder why children are tempted to stray away from the faith.
We could do a better job of instructing our children in the Lord so that they aren’t tempted to sin by falling away from the Lord. I think we all could say that. We all could do better.
Our text doesn’t spare words when it comes to the punishment of those who cause children to sin. It says it would be better if they were drowned in the sea. If we are the cause of our children’s sinning because we have failed to raise them in the Lord, we need to repent and do what we can to change the situation.
God has placed a big responsibility on us adults, us parents. He has blessed us with children that He intends for us to raise knowing Him. In the Book of Deuteronomy is says that we are to train our children in the Lord at all times—at home or away at night or during the day. If we do, they are less apt to stray away from the Lord.
Maybe some of us are feeling guilty for not having done what we could have in terms of raising our children in the Lord. We have deep regrets and if we could go back we would do things differently. We would have paid more attention to their spiritual development. We would have modeled the Christian life better for them to emulate.
We all have regrets, and unfortunately, we can’t go back and change the mistakes we made when it came to raising our children in the Lord. We have to live with those mistakes. But there is a remedy, and it’s called forgiveness. As a matter of fact, it’s the only thing we’ve got to hang on to. It’s our only positive option to deal with regret. Our Lord’s forgiveness can put to rest the torment that regrets often times inflict on us. We turn to His mercy for pardon, and He graciously washes away our sin for the sake of Jesus, who died on the cross and rose from the dead to make God’s forgiveness possible. And if it’s possible to make a change in our course with respect to how we are raising our children in the Lord, we seek his guidance and counsel.
For those of us who are still in the process of raising our children, I would encourage us to make raising our children in the Lord a priority. It’s our responsibility and not someone else’s. We want to teach our children the difference between right and wrong from a Christian perspective so that they will be less inclined to sin against the Lord by turning away from Him. Moreover, our children are the future. If we want our society, our country, to change for the better, then we need to raise God-fearing children. Eventually, our children will take over running things in our country. That means a time will come when they will be taking care of us so to speak. Do we want a generation of pagans not knowing the difference between right and wrong ruling over us? I sure don’t.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us parents and the church as we instruct our children in the Lord.