Some will stray
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Who knows how many parents have carried the weight and burden from the guilt they feel because their children didn’t end up like they hoped and dreamed.
They’re confused because they read this verse, applied it as best they could and didn’t get the results they thought it promised.
Isn’t this proverb supposed to be as good as a signed deal? Doesn’t it clearly say that if you do this then this WILL happen? Clearly, it’s cause and effect, right?
But in a sin-wrecked world, we are all too familiar with let downs and disappointing outcomes.
Maybe you were the prodigal child or were friends with their parents.
Think of the several examples found in the Bible:
- Cain and Abel
- Jacob and Esau
- Joseph and his brothers
- The prodigal child and the son who stayed
But you don’t need to carry that burden.
Take the load off.
A proverb is not a prophecy.
This proverb is a word of wisdom. It’s God’s instruction for us, and specifically for parents in this case.
God wants you to train up your child. He knows what they’re up against.
Think about this. If you train up your child as faithfully as you know how and they still rebel, can you imagine if they never received your instruction or discipline?
I’m a living example of this. I was raised in a Missionary family. My parents and family did the best they could to lead me on the right path and I still rebelled and strayed when I had the choice. But I can’t imagine where I would be without the instruction and direction my parents and many other Godly people gave me.
I can recall many times when God spoke to me in my wandering and I know it was all because of what had been instilled in me early in my life. God’s word never left me. My families efforts had an impact.
Teach your kids, love your kids, set the best Godly example for your kids at church and away from the church, and then trust God for the rest.
Stop beating yourself up. Especially if you’ve already messed up.
You might do all the right things and still get all wrong.
Some will stay and some will return
You might think after all this, “does it even matter if I try”?
As one who returned, I can say it DOES matter.
No, you can’t predict the future – only God can. No, you can’t control the future – only God can.
But you can control what you do daily.
Do your best to,
- talk the talk and walk the walk (especially at home)
- make gathering with and serving a faith family a priority
- give them unconditional love
- set boundaries
- and discipline when necessary (discipline not abuse)
- show them that you love Jesus and Jesus loves you