Pastor Jon’s Sermon Notes
Close friends questioned, “Where’d WE go wrong?!” when daughter outted herself
-Many Xn parents have felt crushing guilt when kids didn’t turn out right
-What else could we have done? What did we do wrong?!
-These guilty feelings for a lot of xn parents find their roots in PROV 22:6! (read)
1. This verse has produced a lot of guilt in parents
*Most Translate: Train up a child in the way he SHOULD go, even when he’s old he won’t depart from it
-Seems to teach: IF parents will raise their kids in the RIGHT/godly way when they’re young
-THEN, when they’re grown they’ll continue to live right/godly, or at least come back to it…
-So, raise kids in the Lord when they’re young, & they’re sure to walk w/ Him as adults!
-&, if you DON’T raise kids in the right/godly way, then they’ll be ungodly adults
-Concl: If your grown kids are ungodly/didn’t turn out right, it’s b/c you didn’t raise’em right
PROBLEM:if my grown kids struggle (they/my grandkids not n church) then Bible saying I was bad parent
-This verse has beat up a LOT of Xn parents > What did we do wrong?!
-Some hold out hope, “Maybe they’ll come back to the Lord…”
-But, what about those for whom that CAN’T be the case?
-What about parents who became Xns later in life & didn’t start kids out rt, no hope?
-Is that really what this is saying? Seems harsh (LOT of pressure)
*Proposed “solution” > some try to solve dilemma, “This isn’t a promise; it’s just a gen rule of thumb”
-All things being equal this is usually the case, but our experience says NOT always the case
-1 Problem: Do we view any other Scripture this way? It’s MOSTLY true…but not completely true
*So, what are we to make of this?
-Does it mean if I do rt by my kids now (take to church, etc.), then guaranteed they’ll turn out rt?
-Does it mean if my kids don’t turn out rt as adults, then it’s my fault b/c I didn’t train them rt?
-Is it too late if I didn’t start right & they’re grown up now?
-Can we just solve the problem (& ease our guilty consciences) by saying, “It’s not a promise”?
*1st, this is a PROMISE > Prov are promises that are generally true now, but always ultimately true!
*2nd, the accepted understanding is based on a bad interpretation that led to a translation issue
2. This verse is a warning to correct your children
*Almost EVERY version has a problem: It ADDS a word that is NOT there in the original!
-ENG: Train a child in the right way…
-“The right” is NOT in Original: Train a child in the right way…
-Original Hebrew: Train a child in HIS way, & when he’s old he won’t depart from it
-In the Heb there’s NO descriptor/qualifier, so Eng trans add 1: right, should, etc.
-They’re trying to aid in interpretation, but I think it’s a wrong one acc to original text
-Doesn’t fit Prov: make own choices & possible to fall in w/ peers, immoral woman, etc.
*So, what does it mean to “train a child in his way”? > There are 2 options
-Option 1: Train a child acc to his nature/bent (ea 1 will be different)
-IF that means use words/concepts a child can understand
-OR, ea kid is diff so study your kids to see how to get him/her on rt path (then I can be ok w/ it)
-BUT, I don’t think this interpretation is the best fit w/ the overall message of Proverbs
-WHY? B/c Prov says our nature is broken & needs to be corrected (20:9; 22:15 folly in heart)
-B/c following “your own way” (seems rt/wise in own eyes) = foolish in Proverbs!
-The other 6 references in the book to the “youth” characterize his way as foolish! (Waltke)
(1:4; 7:7; 22:15; 23:13; 29:15)
*Option 2 (sarcastic): Let a child have his way when yg & when old he’ll cont to insist on having his way
*This is a WARNING (flip side of promise): parents must correct their kids B4 foolish character is set!
-Don’t let kids have their way b/c that will be harmful & destructive to them & you
-Need to be able to correct & discipline them b/c left to self is disastrous
-Temptation is to want 2b friends & give in (don’t rock boat)>Caillou’s parents! (worldy wisdom)
*If U let them b annoying, self-centered demons now, they’ll b later, no1 will like them,&bring shame 2U
-You have to say “NO” sometimes (have to discipline kids & hold them accountable)
-That’s your “JOB” as a parent > Why God gave your kids to you, so you can tell them “NO”
-They NEED to hear it (shouldn’t always hear yes/get their way all the time!)
-Multiple reasons: don’t know what they need & won’t always hear yes/get way in real world
-Don’t teach them 2 expect it by always saying yes >don’t teach univ revolves around them
*Story in The Atlantic by Lori Gottlieb “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy”
-Another teacher I spoke with, a 58-year-old mother of grown children who has been teaching kindergarten for 17 years, told me she feels that parents are increasingly getting in the way of their children’s development. “I see the way their parents treat them,” she said, “and there’s a big adjustment when they get into my class. It’s good for them to realize that they aren’t the center of the world, that sometimes other people’s feelings matter more than theirs at a particular moment—but it only helps if they’re getting the same limit-setting at home. If not, they become impulsive, because they’re not thinking about anybody else.”This same teacher—who asked not to be identified, for fear of losing her job—says she sees many parents who think they’re setting limits, when actually, they’re just being wishy-washy. “A kid will say, ‘Can we get ice cream on the way home?’ And the parent will say, ‘No, it’s not our day. Ice-cream day is Friday.’ Then the child will push and negotiate, and the parent, who probably thinks negotiating is ‘honoring her child’s opinion,’ will say, ‘Fine, we’ll get ice cream today, but don’t ask me tomorrow, because the answer is no!’” The teacher laughed. “Every year, parents come to me and say, ‘Why won’t my child listen to me? Why won’t she take no for an answer?’ And I say, ‘Your child won’t take no for an answer, because the answer is never no!’”
-Need to intervene > that’s our role > B/c we don’t naturally choose what is right!
*2 other verses in Proverbs that help us see why this is the right interpretation:
* Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him
-We KNOW this > kids/youth don’t have to be taught to do wrong, but to do right!
-Illust: Head in toy box, staying up for football, don’t want to tell dumb things I did as a teen!
-We NEED discipline & correction!
*Proverbs 29:15 The rod & reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother
-Dad: need discipline & changes over time (sign of wisdom = verbal reprimand suffices)
-When young > brains in buns / “Boys have ears on their back sides” (Egyptian Prov)
-Spank: study at Calvin College shows kids spanked 2-6 better grades & sunnier outlook on life
-NOT ABUSE (deal later) > abuse them by LEAVING them to themselves!
-NOT doing rt by them if not correcting self-destructive behavior (ie.discipline body working out)
-Don’t leave to self > example: teens alone w/ opposite sex = DUMB!!!
*Main issue of these verses: left to ourselves/decision-making we’ll choose WRONG/destructive path!
-We are NOT innocent or basically good/wise (we are sinful fools by nature)
-Parent’s task is to intervene before folly is set & our kids walk towards Hell (get on rt path)
-If we DON’T the results will be disastrous NOW & LATER
-Consequences: selfish & no one wants to be around them, can’t keep job b/c think entitled, can’t problem solve b/c you always rushed in & shielded them from consequences of actions
*Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, & they’re raising children who’ll grow into adults who turn toward excuses & do not create a strong work ethic. If you don’t want your child to end up 25 & jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren’t succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.
-Result: it’ll shame you, hurt them, & ultimately land them in Hell b/c never taught wrong path
*So, INTERVENE by correcting (say no), instructing, & disciplining (hold accountable for sin/disobey)
*If you don’t, in for much heartache: Houston Police Dept on “How to Raise a Delinquent”
- Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow to believe the world owes him a living.
- When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he’s cute. It will also encourage him to pick up “cuter” phrases that will blow off the top of your head later.
- Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and then let him “decide for himself.”
- Avoid use of the word “wrong”. It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
- Pick up everything he leaves lying around – books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be expecting it.
- Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.
- Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
- Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
- Take his side against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
- When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”
- Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it.
*Basic idea: Let to self a child will be set in a self-destructive, foolish path, so correct them NOW!
3. This verse tells us our children’s greatest need is the Good News about Jesus
*When we walk in foolishness > shows we have a problem w/ Jesus
-NOT correcting your kids = a spiritual issue (idolatry issue) > not believing gospel rightly!
-Heb 2:10-13 By Gospel, Jesus brings many sons to glory > makes us holy/blameless b4 God
-Heb 2:13 Here I am w/ the Children you have given to me
-If we are NOT getting our sons (& daughters) to glory thru gospel-correction > idolatry!
-NEED the gospel (grace when make mistakes & transformation into image of Jesus!)
*Greatest need for our children: we are saved by gospel & seeking to see them saved by it!
-Our role as parents is to rescue our kids from Hell & the path that leads there!
-Our role isn’t behavior modification ultimately, but bringing them to Jesus who changes us!
-This is done thru discipline
-Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. 14 If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol
*Since we are foolish sinners by nature & choice, we are all walking on a path towards Hell
-Discipline is a RESCUE mission to save our children from cont on that path!
-If we don’t correct them, then they think evil is good (and good = evil!)
-If we don’t correct them, they won’t recognize they’re sinners (1st step to salv) & repent!
-Gospel issue: throw off your authority = God’s authority (won’t submit to Him)
*Punishing our children shows them that there is accountability for sinful choices & actions!
-Teaching them there are consequences now & final reckoning later! (need to know this)
-Teaches: there’s a standard of right & wrong, they fall short, are sinners, & need Savior (law)
*Want to avoid moralism & behavior modification: best produces self-righteous xns
-Worse: Pharisees who march into Hell or rebels who want nothing to do w/ you/your rules
-Behavior modification doesn’t last when you’re gone & threats/bribes aren’t present!
*Gospel-Driven Discipline: talk to them during the punishment
-confess what they did wrong, tell them your love/God’s love isn’t based on their actions
-Confess you understand their sinful action & have done similarly, need forgiveness too!
-Especially a good way to deal w/ grown kids if think too late > humble yourself before them!
-Chance to share gospel: we are sinners & Jesus died for us to forgive our sins…