JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO WHEN CHILDREN COME
A number of couples fall madly in love, marry, and are extremely happy—until children come. The new addition sometimes comes between the couple, leading to separation or even divorce. Some have even gone so far as to abandon or kill children because they resented the third party. Sadly, some have even murdered their offspring in the womb, calling it abortion, reasoning that it was “just a fetus”, rather than a living person within the expectant mother. An excellent work, entitled, “Milestones of Early Life”, written by Gary B. Clark, copyrighted 2004, available at http://www.hh76.com 4-1-2016, item no. 9438MS, is excellent. Some are not as ready for children as they had thought.
Most people enjoy the birth of a baby, and they guide their children to adulthood. They en-joy them, even with their youthful mistakes. Most look forward to grandchildren, and maybe to greats or great greats. The writer’s maternal grandmother saw five generations. Much joy and pride was seen on their faces when taking the picture. Not all have such joy, and some will never reach that plateau. What should parents do when children come? Jesus is the Answer to When Children Come.
When Mary was told that she would have a son, and that he would be the Son of God, she said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour:….” (Luke 1:46, 47). Mary did not abort (murder) her baby. Neither did she desert Jesus, even at the cross. (John 19:25-27). We have no record of her at the resurrection. However, this scribe pictures Mary there with the other women. We do know that she was present with the apostles, women, and other brethren, in the upper room, following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, and just prior to the beginning of His church. (Acts 1:9-14). One may easily picture Mary as one of those baptized into the body, church of Christ on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:41; Ephesians 1:22, 23; Romans 16:16). This writer cannot picture Mary not becoming a member of the church her blessed Son, Jesus, built. (Matthew 16:13-19; Acts 2). Godly women, like Mary, will rejoice at the birth of their offspring, and bring them up properly.
Parents should love their children (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Titus 2:4), and “provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). Mother, grandmother, be a Lois or Eunice; instill in your children the “unfeigned” (not hypocritical) “faith” (2 Timothy 1:5), from a child. (2 Timothy 3:15). Teach them to say God and Jesus as some of their first words. Encourage them to “love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37) and “strength.” (Luke 10:27). Study the Bible with and in front of them. (2 Timothy 2:15). Teach children by word and example to read and memorize scripture. (Ephesians 3:4; Psalm 119:11). Pray with them. (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18). Teach them not to “despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12). Teach and require offspring to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9, 10), not in a way that produces lust. (1 John 2:16; 2 Timothy 2:22). Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Charge your children as did David, showing what a real man is. (1 Kings 2:1-4). Set the proper ex-ample before children (Titus 2:11, 12), and do not ask them to do as you say, not as you do. Be careful not to judge them “according to appearance, but judge righteous judgments.” (John 7:24). Be careful not to judge your children by what you may/may not have done.
Provide for your children’s needs. (1 Timothy 5:8). Do not be afraid or ashamed to say, “No”, and mean it. Help them to understand that one cannot afford financially to have all one wants, or that some things are sinful. Aid them to see that even things right within themselves may not be conducive to their spiritual growth. Show them that some things, while not wrong, might stand in the way of their proper use of time. Read the book of Proverbs with your children, stressing some things.
Do not forget that your young ones are just that, youth. They do not yet know what you have learned by study and experience. Help fashion their minds in the right way. Do not be afraid to say, “I am sorry”, when you need to do so. Do not forget that you are the parent, and they are the children. Do not allow the child(ren) to run or ruin your lives. Children must learn early that God has an order for things. In order, it is God, Christ, Husband, Wife, Children (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:1). Until he learned better, this writer thought it was cute to tell his children, “You’ll do it and like it” and when asked, “Why?”, by his children, he replied, “There are 1000 reasons. Number 1, I said so. Forget the other 999.” One child reportedly said, “I’ll do it, but I won’t like it.” Patiently (Luke 21:19; 2 Peter 1:5-7) teach them (Ephesians 6:1-4), using the “rod and reproof” (Proverbs 29:15) as and when necessary.
Teach them that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 9:6, 7). Show them by word and example how to care for the “fatherless and widows”, and all others. (James 1:27; Galatians 6:10). Help them to understand and believe that we should “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9). This writer just heard of a four year-old child emptying his piggy bank, and giving the money to help another. What a tremendous lesson these parents taught this child.
Children should be taught by word and example to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19). Parents should be careful not to speak disparagingly of others, especially of the church, elders, deacons, preachers, and any other, and especially in front of children. One young child told the preacher that they were having buzzard for dinner, because he had heard a parent say, “If we are going to have the ole buzzard, we might as well have him Sunday.” How many sermons have been negated by parents criticizing the preacher or his lesson on the way home? How many children have lost respect for the church, elders, and others due to remarks heard from parents? Too, many people might still be alive had they heeded these words.
Take time to be with your children. Be genuinely interested in them, their activities, and so on. Make them know how important they are and how proud you are of them when they do right, even though they may have come out on the losing end. Encourage them to invite friends to your house, and generously and cheerfully provide snacks and good recreation and entertainment for them. It is better to have them in the environment you can control. Monitor their use of the TV, cell phones, internet, games, books, and all else. Many children have been led astray, even killed, by the use of some of these things. Be careful not to invade their privacy, but remember that you are the parent, and that you are responsible to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). Do not regret wishing later that you had.
Stress safety in all things, especially, when they begin to drive, play sports, and more. Teach them to keep firearms, if such is owned, locked up, and safety when used. Remember, recreation can be fun or fatal. Do all things properly. As one reportedly said, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” THINK!
Consider children’s opinions and suggestions seriously; they are serious in giving them. How-ever, realize that they are children, and as serious as they may be in stating them, they may be incorrect. Use what you can, but teach them to trust you and defer to you.
A few final thoughts. DO NOT: (1) forget each other as you raise your children; (2) be jealous of your children; (3) allow them to take time you need for one another; (4) allow them to be guests in the home, but give them responsibilities, and see that they fulfill them. It has been said, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
Parents, love your children, giving them good gifts (Matthew 7:11), teaching them humility (Matthew 18:3, 4), helping them to come to the Lord (Mark 10:14; Proverbs 22:6), correcting them when necessary (Proverbs 13:24; Hebrews 12:6-11), and such like. Do not belittle, embarrass, and slap them in public. Good parenting is a busy, time consuming and difficult job. They will soon become adults. Train them properly so they will be able to tutor their children correctly. Read Genesis 18:19 and Joshua 24:14, 15. One might say, “Good luck.” However, God’s guidance, not luck, is what you need. Take a moment, and pray together.