Summary: A Mother’s Day word to mothers of bad kids.

A Word To Mothers Of Bad Kids

May 12, 2002

Deuteronomy 21:18-21

"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they chastise him, will not give heed to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." (RSV)

"When a man has a stubborn son, a real rebel who won’t do a thing his mother and father tell him, and even though they discipline him he still won’t obey, his father and mother shall forcibly bring him before the leaders at the city gate and say to the city fathers, "This son of ours is a stubborn rebel; he won’t listen to a thing we say. He’s a glutton and a drunk."

Then all the men of the town are to throw rocks at him until he’s dead. You will have purged the evil pollution from among you. All Israel will hear what’s happened and be in awe." (TM-The Message)

Introduction: ILL.- Did you hear about the three sons who left home, went out on their own and prospered? Getting back together, they discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother.

The first said, "I built a big house for our mother." The second said, "I sent her a Mercedes with a driver." The third smiled and said, "I’ve got you both beat. You remember how mom enjoyed reading the Bible? And you know she can’t see very well. I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders in the church 12 years to teach him. He’s one of a kind. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse, and parrot recites it."

Soon thereafter, mom sent out her letters of thanks: "Milton", she wrote, "The house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house." "Gerald", she wrote to another, "I am too old to travel. I stay most of the time at home, so I rarely use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude!" "Dearest Donald", she wrote to her third son, "You have the good sense to know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious!" [author unknown.]


Not the expected text

nor am I going to preach judgement

rather, a recognition that there are mothers of bad kids

-mothers who aren’t as happy with Mother’s Day

-mothers who would rather hide than celebrate

-mothers like Pamela Helder

Every parent wishes the best

-from even before the child is born

-buy the best clothes, toys

-talk, sing to the preborn child

-as the child grows

-a good parent watches over their child

-Proverb 22:6

"Point your kids in the right direction– when they’re old they won’t be lost." (TM)

"Teach a child how he should live, and he will remember it all his life." (Good News)

-give clear positive direction

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (RSV)

-teach the word

-teach our values

-teach our traditions

-teach them to trust and revere God

God as a Parent

Ezekiel 16- a parable of God’s love for Israel

"So he led his chosen people out, and they sang a shouted for joy. He gave them the lands of other peoples and let them take over their fields, so that his people would obey his laws and keep his commandments." Psalm 105:43-45 (TEV)

"Listen while I sing you this song, a song of my friend and his vineyard: My friend had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug the soil and cleared it of stones; he planted the finest vines. He built a tower to guard them, dug a pit for treading the grapes. He waited for the grapes to ripen, but every grape was sour. So now my friend says, "You people who live in Jerusalem and Judah, judge between my vineyard and me. Is there anything I failed to do for it? Then why did it produce sour grapes and not the good grapes I expected?" Isaiah 5:1-4 (TEV)

Sometimes even the best parenting can yield wild grapes.

What must it have been like.....

-to wake up and discover your son murdered 164 people in OKC.

-to wake up and see your son’s school on T.V. being overrun by police, and then to find out it was because of your own son.

-to wake up and hear that your son is being charged with espionage and faces life in prison.

Troubled children are not limited to the headlines

-sexually active children

-children addicted to drugs, alcohol, tobacco

-children driven to rebel against God, religion

To every mother who has had to ask, "What went wrong?" and to every mother who ever will I offer these few simple words...

1. Have a love relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Source from which everything else derives it’s purpose and meaning

"I am the vine, you are the branches . . . apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5, RSV

including parenting-God provides the template.

Can’t lead kids on the right path if you’re not on it!

like the blind leading the blind!

2. Give it your best.

Children are not born with instruction manuals

We soon discover how fragile children are- can easily be broken.

No one is perfect. Our children will immediately pick up on our mistakes and amplify them.

Everyone seems to be an expert-have 2 kids, write a book

No one is an expert. It’s a matter of trial and error

disciplining at the wrong times, in the wrong way

failed moments of encouragement

3. Trust in God.

You can’t be everywhere all the time as a parent

We have to let go

ex. riding a bicycle. We want to hold on to protect, but know we must let go for them to learn

-Moses’s mother; Hannah

4. Don’t blame yourself.

Each child makes their own choices

Ezekiel 18:4,20

"Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins shall die.... The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." (RSV)

"You die for your own sin, not another’s...The soul that sins is the soul that dies. The child does not share the guild of the parent, nor the parent the guild of the child. If you live upright and well, you get the credit; if you live a wicked life, you’re guilty as charged." (TM)

James 1:14-15

"Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death." (RSV)

Conclusion: Parenting is tough

no greater profession

but parents need encouragement, not guilt