Grace to Fulfill Our Parental Calling #1

The purpose of this post is crystallized in the last verse of the Old TestamentMalachi 4:6, reminds us that one of the purposes of the forerunner to the Messiah, was to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers…” The only other alternative set forth is that “God would come and strike the land with a curse.”

If the positive outcome of Malachi 4:6 did not occur, the prophets says that the negative result would be that God would bring a  curse on the land.  What does that look like in our contemporary culture?  Today we see in our media the oft-repeated and serious consequences of the disintegration of the family.  The devastation and fallout are tremendous.  Teens are killing themselves and each other at triple the rate they were twenty years ago.  Teen pregnancy rates in the United States are the highest for any Western nation.  Fourth-grade girls are dieting in record numbers.  Millions of children are medicated daily to make them more manageable in school and at home.  There is great confusion regarding the roles of the sexes.  In fact, new research indicates that anguish over sexuality is playing a significant role in teenage suicide.  Initial research tends to show that gay and bisexual teens have a higher risk of ending their lives (Atlanta Journal Constitution, Article on “Teen Suicide,” October 12, 1998)

Advice from an Unlikely Source:  Four hundred years before Christ, Socrates cried out to the culture of his day:  “Could I climb the highest place in Athens, I would lift up my voice and proclaim:  ‘Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children to whom you must one day relinquish all?’” (Quoted in A Mother’s Heart, Jean Fleming, p.57).

The Biblical Extremes:  It is said of the virtuous mother of Proverbs 31 that “she smiles at the future… She looks well to the ways of her household, her children rise up and bless her…”  However, Proverbs 30:11 claims that: “There is a generation who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.”  (See also Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2)

Why is there a “generation who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers?”  Because, honor is a two-sided coin.  Our children can become willful, disobedience, and rebellious and walk away from everything we hold dear, but also we can and oftentimes fail in our parental task.

All of us parents will have regrets, but how do we work to minimize those regrets and become parents worthy of honor that live gracious and godly lives before the watching eyes of our children.

What does it look like to become a parent worthy of honor?  Why should we be exercised about becoming a parent worthy of honor? These distinguishing marks of a parent worthy of honor have been compiled mainly from my study of Scripture with additional help from the following resources:

The Westminister Larger Catechism, The Ten Commandments by Thomas Watson, and “The Duties of Parents” by J.C. Ryle in his book The Upper Room, and Ten Things Parents Must Teach Their Children (And Learn for Themselves by Edith Schaeffer.

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