Children Have A Free Will
(Or, The sin of parents bragging that their children turned out right because they trained them up right!)
by David J. Stewart | May 23 2005 | Updated September 2016
children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his
reward. As arrows are in the hand
of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them...” —Psalm 127:3-5
I've heard numerous parents over the years sinfully boast that their children are all serving God, because they raised them right. I've heard preachers brag of the same thing, but then when their adult child chose to go into sin, couldn't make their proudful boast of such things any more. The truth is that no parent ought ever take the glory for children that turn our right for God, because it is God and not us Who makes men holy. We are all woeful sinners with a free will from God.
As a preacher I have seen children go to the Devil who were raised in godly homes by good Christian parents. I have also seen children grow up to serve the Lord, against all odds, who were sexually molested by strangers and sold for money by their own parents, to pay for the parent's drug addiction. Josiah grew up in a wicked home, whose father was Amon, a wicked king over Israel. Josiah's grandfather was Manasseh, also a wicked king. Josiah's testimony evidences that a child who has grown up in a wicked home can turn out right for God, if he so chooses. We all have a choice of how we live. No one is forced to serve sin and Satan! We all make our own choices.
The Bible teaches that children ought not be punished for the sins of the parents. Neither ought parents be punished for the sins of their adult children. Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Adult children have their own free will from God. Whether they live for God and do right is solely their decision, which will largely be affected by the company they choose to keep. Wrong friends is a sure recipe for destruction! This is why attendance in a good Bible-believing church is so important, where you are likely to make godly friends. Only attend a church that exclusively uses the King James Bible. Only attend a church that teaches the simple Gospel, that is, the Biblical truth that a person is saved by admitting they are a sinner and believing the Gospel, apart from all works. Turning from sinful behavior, following Christ, surrender all to Jesus, inviting Jesus into your life, or any other type of self-righteous works for salvation, is not the Gospel, and is of the Devil. Run from such false churches!
The Bible teaches us to “honor” our parents. It is one of God's Ten Commandments to humanity (Exodus 20). To “honor” means “to value” them. It means to place emphasis upon the good and not the bad in our parents. It means to cover their past mistakes if they were Christian parents, protecting their name. Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” Self-righteous children want to broadcast to the whole world the sins and failures of their imperfect parents, while failing to understand that they are just as sinful in God's eyes (James 2:10; Romans 2:1; Romans 3:10-23; Matthew 7:1-5; James 4:12).
Here are some wonderful words of wisdom from Pastor Bob Gray Sr. ...
...I know a man whose father did a horrible thing. The son is a good young man. He is shamed and embarrassed by the things his dad did. He lost out on so much because of the sins of his father. Let me tell you how this godly young man handles it.
First, he still honors his father as he is commanded to do in the Scriptures. A sign of the wickedness of the daughter in question whose video has dishonored her parents. God makes no provisions for exceptions to this command.
No adult child is to "obey," but they are commanded to "honor." The word "honor" simply means to place emphasis on the good not the bad. A life can be shortened according to Scriptures not from "disobeying" but from NOT HONORING. (Exodus 20:12)
Secondly, he does his best to deal with his pain without bitterness. He hurts, but he carries his pain like a Christian. Bitterness is a sign of your own sins and not the one towards whom you are bitter.
Third, he is closer to God as a result of his hurt. It drives him to his Father and not away from his Father. A true Christian takes bad situations and allows them to draw them nearer to God.
Finally, he refuses to bad mouth his dad in any way. There is too much good there to allow the bad to overwhelm the good. How do we overcome "evil" anyway according to Scriptures. We overcome "evil" by the doing of "good." (Romans 12:21) He does his best to find all the good his father did. He speaks of the good times and the positive influences.
Yes, ALL parents do fail and some fail miserably, but that does not change the proper way the children, especially adult children, should behave. This young man's father failed, but he did not use it as an excuse to rebel.
Judge the rebellious adult child for their own actions and not what they spew out of bitterness about their parents. Do not allow bitter adult children put the blame on anyone but the themselves. They who do blame their parents ought to be wise enough to recognize it is a sign of their sinfulness and their rebellion and not the failure of the parents who were far from perfect.
And, if you are going to blame the father for the sins of his children then you had better blame God for the sins of his children too, if you are to be consistent! GOTTA LOVE THE PRESERVED INSPIRATION OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE!
We need a revival in America of how adult children treat their parents. If you were an abused child and cannot get along with a troublesome and stubborn parent, then you need to go your way and love your parents at a distance. But do love them! Oftentimes parents do not respect their adult children, because they are family. You should try to talk openly with your parent(s) and/or in-laws, trying to work things out. But if they are set in their abusive ways, meddling in your marriage, then it is perfectly proper to pursue peace in one's life. In such cases, I think it is proper to move away, so as to prevent further abuse and conflict in the family, but let it ring ever true that... “Distance makes the heart grow fonder!” Tall fences make good neighbours, and that is true concerning family as well. I think it is true that most of our troubles in life are caused by disgruntled family members. No one can hurt you more than your own loved ones, because they know you better than anyone else, and also because family matters are always personal.
If you are blessed to have adult children that are serving God, and have not brought shame to your family name, then give all the praise and glory to God alone, for He is worthy! And please don't ever brag in a proudful boast, which is sinful, that you are the reason why your children have not gone into sin or messed up their lives. Life isn't over yet, you just might live long enough to eat your arrogant words. If you and your adult children are born-again Christians, and they bring joy and gladness to your heart, make sure to remind them that it is mainly because they chose to obey God, and not so much you as a parent, that is responsible. We all have a God-given free will.
If an adult child decides not to follow the upbringing of the parents, nor obey God's Word, please don't blame the church, Christian school, harsh standards, fundamentalism or the family. We all make our own choices in life. The choices that we make are solely our own responsibility. If you have made unwise decisions in life (as I certainly have at times), take full responsibility for your own decisions. I blame no one but myself. I blew it! I messed up! Say to yourself, “I should have done better, but I strayed from the Lord and became filled with my own ways for a season.” Proverbs 14:14, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” It takes a real person of character to say, “I don't blame anyone except myself!”
Once you accept a proper attitude toward your sins and failures, you are well on your way to recovery and a life pleasing to the Lord. The Bible teaches that whether we live or die as believers, we only have to answer to God in eternity. Romans 14:8, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.” This means it doesn't matter what our enemies and critics say about us. God will hold them accountable for their hypocrisy, hatred and sins (Romans 2:1-2; Matthew 7:1-5; James 4:12; Proverbs 11:9). Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
8:11, “For wisdom is better than rubies;
and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
Ye Must Be Born Again!