Faith Fix: Failed Parenting? (ATP)
What scriptures if any are there to look at when you feel you are failing or have already failed as a parent to one of your children?
Although, I don’t believe the Bible speaks to this specifically, there are some important passages that speak about raising children.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
The best is always to be proactive as a parent, not reactive. What I mean by this is that if we work to put the right things into our children when they’re young we will have an easier time when they’re older. Unfortunately, many parents don’t get revelation of this until it’s seemingly too late and their children are older. This often leads to a lot of heartache and stress. This is one of the reasons we stress the importance of raising your kids in a Bible teaching church.
The Bible says foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, meaning children make lots of mistakes, act foolishly at times, and need both guidance and correction. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” The Bible says parents who refuse to discipline “hate” their children. Look at Proverbs 29:17-18, “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul. Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.” Proper discipline leads to more peace and an easier time in the long run.
If you’re at a place where you have young children who aren’t behaving the way you’d like them to and they’re still under your authority, it’s important to teach them right, live by example, and discipline them until that changes. Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Your example is everything.
As your children become older adolescents and teenagers it becomes more challenging but it’s still doable. It’ll take more discipline on your part than you’ll even dole out to them! It’s never fun being the parent in these cases. If your children are now adults, living astray, your best hope is to live as an example, to pray for them, and to keep boundaries so you’re always a prick to their conscience.
Recall the younger son in Luke chapter 15. He took all the provision of his father and he left to live and squander it as the Bible writes, “with prodigal living.” Consider how as he wasted his inheritance and all he had availed to him, to the point of suffering without all the good things meant for his life. After he hit rock bottom, and only then, did he come begging for a chance to have a taste of the life he once had. In Luke 15:18-19, we see this son’s heart, “ I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”‘ He was willing to humble himself to the point of a servant because life his way failed him to the point of no return. If we continue reading we see that this father received him back with celebration and open arms after his heart was truly repentant. This is a true scenario naturally speaking but it represents a greater truth about our Heavenly Father. He is always willing to take us back as we realize the error in our ways. That’s what a good parent does, but notice the father didn’t chase this son down. He evidently put the right stuff in him and when it wasn’t easy to ignore anymore, the right stuff came out. I often as a parent have prayed for my children that they would be like Saul on the way to Damascus. Look at this account, Acts 9:4-6, “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Saul, later the Apostle Paul, was fighting the plan of God, fighting God and all He stood for, but his heart was so pricked, his conscience so bothered by this godless life, that he had no choice but to get right. I pray over my kids that every time they try to go against the plan of God it hurts so bad they can’t stand it. The Bible says sin is enjoyable for a time. (Hebrews 11:25) but the wages of sin is death and destruction. (Romans 6:23)
All this can be summarized with a few key points. First, if there’s any hope is raising good children it’s putting God at the center of your home. The world has failed us in their parenting strategies but God’s way always works. Next, remember to be an example of right living. Your kids know better than to trust “do as I say not as I do.” If we as adults refuse to correct our own lives, why would our children correct theirs? Work to balance both love and discipline, forgiveness and correction. Above all, don’t lose heart or grow weary in your well-doing as a parent. God is faithful as we trust Him!