by Rev. Jack Hulsey
Woodlake Baptist Church Praise & Worship, June 18, 2017
It has been said losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent and while I have never experienced losing a child, I have been there for parents who have. Over many years of experience I have found there is something that might rival the loss of a child for parents. These parents undergo torturous introspection. With such questions as: "Where did we go wrong? What did we do? What didn't we do? We loved our child. But things didn't turn out the way we planned, our child has gone down the wrong path and we don’t know what to do.”
I would like to share with you the following article by Rev. Mark H. Creech, executive director of the Raleigh- based Christian Action League of North Carolina. He says, “Granted, most children who end up on the wrong path in life got there because their parents failed them. It may have been they were too busy and lived unbalanced lives. Maybe they were absorbed with their work or careers and neglected to give their child the proper attention. Sometimes children turn out bad because their parents failed to discipline them.” He continues, “Children who never experience firm correction are generally headed for trouble. Other children devoid of necessary parental emotional connections act out in various forms of rebellious and anti-social acts .But there are circumstances when mothers and fathers did the right things and they lost their children anyway. The Scriptures record a number of cases where children ended up on the wrong side of the tracks and it wasn't the parent's fault. Think of Joseph, he was a very godly man, raised by a less than perfect father, Jacob. Yet his brothers were nothing less than scoundrels. Joseph turned out good and his brothers were less than virtuous, but the Scripture doesn't hold Jacob responsible for the differences between them. Samuel, the great prophet of Israel, a man of impeccable character, raised children who turned out bad, and he was never incriminated for their actions.
Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son who took his inheritance from his father and left home for "riotous living." His father, however, who gave his child at the proper age the freedom to choose, was never charged with raising his son unsuitably. In fact, the story conveys just the opposite truth – the way the father was exemplary in the treatment of his son. Sadly, children can turn out rotten despite their parents. This doesn't mean parents shouldn't be diligent in child rearing. They should make every effort to make the home their priority. Children should be disciplined, loved, and given proper attention. Nevertheless, this is the hard fact of the matter: there are no guarantees a child will become a good and responsible person. Some may be quick to disagree, pointing to Proverbs 22:6, which reads: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Nevertheless, this proverb was never meant to be taken as an absolute, but only to convey a probability of things likely to occur.
In other words, every child reaches an age to where they either choose or reject the heritage of their parents. In the final analysis, it's up to them. Nonetheless, at least for those parents who were scrupulous about providing their children with godly training, there is the assurance that what was taught will always be with them, and it will continuously be in them calling them home.
He concludes, “There is no pain quite so excruciating as that of a parent watching a child falter in life. Nonetheless, the cause is not always the parent's fault. And, some parents needn't take responsibility for things they can't control. Their children have minds of their own and are ultimately responsible to God for their actions. Therefore, they should turn their children over to God in earnest prayer. Furthermore, they should take comfort in knowing that God himself identifies with their heartache.”