The Parent’s Obligations to Their Children

Volneybiblechurch   -  

I am continually amazed when I talk with some of today’s parents and how they have decided to rear their children. For instance, I was in a conversation with a young mother recently who admitted that she wasn’t “very religious.” And she said that she had no right to influence her daughter’s search for religion. She believed that she should wait for the child to either show an interest in religious belief or make a decision that they didn’t want anything to do with it.

If the child wanted to explore a certain belief system,  the mom said she would go out of her way to take her to a place where she could get a better understanding of that religion. But if the child never showed an interest in religious belief at all, then she wouldn’t try to persuade her to look into it.

The truth is that it is the job of the parent to lead the child along a proper path in life. We would never let our children eat anything that they wanted to eat, for instance, because they will almost always choose a diet that is not good for them.  If our children were playing in the middle of the road, we wouldn’t let them choose whether to stay there or not. We’d take them by the hand and lead them off the street.

A child lacks the proper mental tools to make enlightened choices. We must teach them proper values and principles for them to learn. And if we believe that our faith is the truth, why wouldn’t we want them to grow up and take it as an integral part of their own lives? Indeed, it would be irresponsible for us not to bring them up in our faith.

Also, if you are a Christian, then you believe that there is only one God and one way of being in a relationship with Him. And that is by faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for your sins, which are separating you from a holy God who cannot stand sin. In other words,  our faith has consequences for this life, and for the one to come. By not talking with our kids about our faith, we may be condemning them to an eternity in hell. Why would we want to do that with the most precious persons on this planet to us?

The Bible has a lot to say about the role of the parent in their religious upbringing. We read in Deuteronomy 6:6,7 that the people of Israel were instructed to make sure that they told their children about the Lord’s commandments. Moses tells the people:

“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.”
In Proverbs 22:6 we get some advice on rearing our children properly as well. It tells us to:
  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
And, of course, the apostle Paul tells the dads in the family:
“And, you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4).
From these and other verses, it is quite plain that we must take an active role in our children’s spiritual development. Not to mention the fact that statistics prove that most people develop their religious beliefs before they are adults.  Adult religious conversion is rare. So, if we don’t teach them now,  the chances are that they will never learn it.
 When all is said and done, each parent has a chance to influence their children for a short time in their young lives to come to the Lord and develop an eternal relationship with Him. May we never squander this; for their sake, and that of the society in which they will one day take their place.