We Are Not Responsible
There are two mindsets parents tend to have today when it comes to the manner in which their children behave. What are these two mindsets? Well…
- I am not responsible for how my child turns out.
- It is all my fault that my child has turned out the way he or she has.
Parents become either a helpless victim or their own worst critic. As parents, we sometimes forget one undeniable truth.
Everyone must assume responsibility for his or her own choices.
The Bible has some good examples of godly parents who had ungodly children and ungodly parents who had children with a love for God.
Tolerate and Excuse
An age old lesson in parenting that still applies today:
What parents tolerate in moderation, their children will excuse in excess.
One memorably tolerant parent in Scripture is Lot. While Lot wasn’t necessarily a bad man, he desired a life of ease. As a result, his worldly values led him to move his family into a city that ran rapid with sin. His tolerance for various perversions and sin showed his daughters a tolerance for the same.
Lot’s greatest error is in the fact he didn’t guard his heart.While he knew of sin, instead of avoiding it, he tolerated it. The results of that, are disastrous.
Genesis 13New International Version (NIV)
Abram and Lot Separate
13 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.
14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”
18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.
Genesis 19:30-36New International Version (NIV)
Lot and His Daughters
30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.
Eli, is another example of tolerance. Or perhaps ignorance.
Eli’s Wicked Sons
12 Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. 13 Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled 14 and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15 But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.” 16 If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.” 17 This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they[b]were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
Eli’s sons, as they were sons of a priest, were to pursue a career in the same as was the custom. However, they corrupted their purpose.
Did Eli discipline his sons? There is but one biblical account stating he does, but at this time, he’s getting on in years.
1 Samuel 2:22-25New International Version (NIV)
22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. 24 No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the Lord’s people is not good. 25 If one person sins against another, God[a] may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the Lord, who willintercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.
Is it possible that maybe Eli, like so many of us, wanted to believe only the best about his sons and turned a blind eye to what was actually going on until it was too late?
1 Samuel 3:10-15New International Version (NIV)
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a]and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision
Eli paid a hard price all because he indulged and turned a blind eye.
The Hard Truth
We, as parents and guardians, have an enormous impact on the molding of our children’s lives. Our beliefs, our behavior, our indulgences, while not guaranteed to, can become theirs as well. That’s why it is so important to set a good example, a Christ-like example for our children and future generations.