Summary: The problem with this myth is that people have confused a promise with a proverb and that creates a great problem.
“A Godly Home Guarantees Godly Kids”
We’re continuing on this morning in our series of messages called Mythbusters. We’re looking at eight spiritual myths – spiritual urban legends – to which many people subscribe. These spiritual myths aren’t just harmless misunderstandings. They are spiritually dangerous errors that will eventually bring heartache and disillusionment to anyone who trusts in them. The consequences can be devastating.
As we start this morning, I want to share with you the true stories of two couples. Both of these stories come from Larry Osborn’s book “Ten Stupid Things Smart Christians Believe.” In fact, I’ve based this series on parts of that book.
The first couple is Don and Sharon. Don and Sharon have three grown sons. One of their sons is doing very well. He’s a model citizen with a great job, a strong marriage, and a vibrant walk with God. The other two sons – well, they’re a mess. One is in jail. The other is pushing forty but still hasn’t found himself. He’s on job number 15 and marriage number 3. It gets worse. He’s developed a disdain for spiritual things but developed a dependence on alcohol. He doesn’t make any effort to stay in touch with his parents, unless, of course, he needs something.
Their two rebellious sons have brought Don and Sharon a lot of headaches and heartaches. Even though they feel a lot of joy and pride in the one son, the other two cause them to struggle with all kinds of emotions: anger, frustration, embarrassment, and shame.
Their biggest struggle, however, is with guilt – lots of guilt. They see their prodigal sons as proof that they’ve failed as Christian parents. They see their inability to curb the antisocial behavior of their youngest, or instill any sense of drive and a moral compass in the oldest, as proof positive that they were bad parents. And most of their friends agree. It’s not that they say it out loud. They don’t have to.
The second couple is Mike and Rhonda. They feel no guilt about their wild child. Actually, they’re quite upbeat and confident that she will one day return to God and the values by which they raised her.
Their confidence comes from the fact that they modeled a sincere and genuine faith. They took her to church and Sunday school every week. They gave her a solid, faith-based education. During her teenage years, they continued to provide strong spiritual guidance, without stifling her, to make sure she hung around the right friends and participated in the right activities. In short, they did everything they could to give her a godly, Christ-centered upbringing.
But when their daughter went away to college things started to fall apart. By the end of what should have been her senior year, she had soured on her faith, dropped out of school and moved in with her boyfriend. Now, years later, not much has changed. She still hasn’t been near a church or married her boyfriend.
Mike and Rhonda don’t struggle with the guilt or shame that plagues Don and Sharon. Oh, yes, they’re disappointed. But they’re convinced that sooner or later their daughter will come to her senses and come back to God. They’re banking on God’s promise that children raised the right way in a good and godly home can’t stay away forever. They always come home. They can’t help it. God brings them back. He promised.
Both of these couples are strong Christians yet their responses to their wayward children are completely different. Don and Sharon are riddled with guilt. Mike and Rhonda are filled with hope.
Surprisingly, the different responses are both based on the same flawed assumption. It’s our spiritual myth for the day: “A Godly Home Guarantees Godly Kids.”
Don and Sharon interpret that to mean that their home was far more messed up than they had realized. Mike and Rhonda interpret it to mean that their daughter has to come back to the faith someday.
In the short run, Mike and Rhonda probably have it best. At least they have something to hope for. But in the long run, both couples are headed down a dead-end street. They’ve each bought into the same spiritual myth: the belief that a godly home guarantees godly kids. It’s a lie, and every lie (even one that is widely believed and brings temporary comfort) eventually ends up being a house of cards. Things are destined to collapse under the pressing weight of time, truth, and reality.
Like many other spiritual myths, the idea that a godly home guarantees godly kids finds its source in a well-known, but widely misunderstood, Bible verse. The verse is Prov. 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.