Far too often our children are left to themselves to figure out life largely, if not entirely, on their own. Last week a nine year old boy took his mother’s loaded handgun to school in his backpack. The result when he dropped his backpack on his desk was a critically injured little girl with a life threatening bullet in her abdomen. A mother who has a true view of life and human nature would have known what was in her son’s backpack before he ever left home. But by and large far too many parents are clueless about the nature of their children, because they are clueless about the nature of mankind.
If we were able to survey the entire world and ask the question whether or not children come into the world as a “tabula rasa the vast majority would say, “Yes, they do; and the vast majority would be absolutely wrong. “Tabula rasa is Latin for “clean slate and the nomenclature for a philosophy which claims human beings are born in neutral innocence and then entirely shaped by the environment in which they are reared, taught, and molded. No one can doubt the major influence of any person’s environment on the development of their character and personality. But the science of genetics confirms that genes implanted at conception in the DNA of the unborn baby will also have a major influence on the person they are and will become; genes inherited from parents and the generations from which they descended. The all-encompassing “gene most ignored and frequently denied, is the “sin gene impacting all others; which the Bible describes as our “being conceived [already] in sin. (Psalm 51:5) All humans, according to God’s Word, are born with a sinful nature; inescapably ours from the moment of conception. Consequently, children left to themselves, apart from God’s intervention, are sinners who will bring shame to their mothers (and fathers) as the proverb says.
This young boy may not be found legally responsible for his actions, but his parents ought to be! Due to the laws in Washington State, they will not. But this will not be the case on the Day of Judgment; all parents should take this to heart. Our children, like ourselves, were born with a sinful nature, and the knowledge and understanding of this foundational Biblical truth should form and undergird your parenting philosophy and practice. If it does not, your parenting will be a failure. Today over 50% of children born in this country to mothers under 30 are born to single mothers. From unmistakable scientific data gleaned from the results of children from single parent homes, we can be certain that the future society will be a disastrous one; disastrously evil and out of control, because children will be left to themselves, and/or follow in the example set by irresponsible parent(s).
There are at least two cardinal truths for parents to learn from this proverb. The first is that because original sin exists, all their children will enter this world with a sinful nature requiring rebirth. Their inclination will be to sin until the Spirit of God gives them a new nature. Unless reborn, they, by their very nature, will be drawn more to sin and its allurements than to righteousness and obedience. Second, because of this truth, it can never be good to leave them to their own devices. For this very reason parents must LOVE their children by nurturing, admonishing, instructing, correcting, guiding, knowing their “bent, and directing them in the right way with your personal life testimony and example. Hence the necessity, as the proverb says, for the rod and reproof of discipline to provide wisdom.
This absolutely requires your time; lots of it! If you cannot genuinely commit to give of your own time before having a child, do not become a parent! All of the Bible passages which speak directly of parenting imply the devotion of significant TIME! It is the understanding of a sinful nature in ourselves, and in our children, that forbids parents from leaving children to themselves. This means until they are adults and out of your parental responsibility they do not have a blanket right to privacy, any more than we can demand that God close His eyes to us; no right to privacy of what is in their bedroom, on their computer, on their cell phone or iPod, where they go, who they are with, what they do.You are their protection, their first line of defense, their umbrella; like the wings of a mother hen or an eagle (that’s close); not in place of God, but as His steward, and with His aid.
Happily, God chooses to intervene in some children’s lives where parents have essentially abandoned them to the world; He of His own gracious choice draws that child to Himself, protecting them from the sins of their fathers and mothers. This is a blessed exception to the proverb. Do not count on God always doing this when you intentionally or slothfully ignore His instruction to make parent a verb.
What makes it difficult to spend quality time with your children? How are you actively training, encouraging, guiding, correcting, and directing your children? What are you doing to ensure that your children are not being left to themselves to navigate life?
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