"If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear." (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)One day my little brother asked my dad, "Dad, why do you spank us?" and immediately my dad replied, "Because I cannot bring myself to stone you!"
Parenting is not always deterministic. In other words, just because you do the right things does not always mean you will end up with the right outcome. Sometimes bad kids come from good parents and good kids from bad. Even with the best of parents, free will still rests within the child and they make their own choices, good or bad.
One scripture that offers great hope for parents is found in Proverbs. "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) However it must be remembered that this is a proverbial saying and not an immutable law. If this were an absolute law then there would be no need for faith in parenting, no need for the intervention of Christ, and no hope for our children, all of whom come from imperfect parents.
As parents, we do our best and leave God the rest. "For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness." (Hebrews 12:10) As parents we can neither accept the full credit for raising good children nor can we take unto ourselves the full blame when they make wrong choices, choosing sin over godliness. Parenting is not for the weak of heart; there are times of joy and also times of heartbreak. Parenting requires faith and trust in God that, even in our lack, He will make up the difference; that, in the end, they are really His children and our hope is in Him.
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