Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock on Parenting
Nothing is dearer to our hearts than our children. Nothing is more precious to us than our grandchildren. It however, is all too easy to just enjoy the cuteness of them without realizing the responsibility that is ours, and ours alone, to mold them into champions for Christ.
Playing with our children is such a fun thing. I’ll always cherish the memories of having fun with them and making good-natured fun of them! It is one of the best parts of parenting, for sure. Those are all beautiful times. However, this is not our main calling as parents. God has called us over and over again to lead our family into wisdom. To help them make moral choices. If we are going to do this successfully we must, as God says, have both the “rod and reproof.”
1. Children Not Only Need to Be Told but Shown
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).
There is a combination of talk and action that is necessary to impart wisdom into the life of sons and daughters. The word “rod” is a quaint old way of saying corporal punishment. The word “reproof” means to give them a “talking to.” Solomon states that the rod, which works from the outside in, and reproof, which functions from the inside out, are needed to get through to these young minds and hearts.
The word “reprove” is used in scripture several ways. One common meaning is an “argument.” This does not mean we are to get into an argument with children but rather it means to have a “legal argument.” When you have a legal argument and you are coming before the court to pursue litigation, you must have a clear and persuasive statement. There are at least two facets of a good legal argument: clarity and conciseness. They make it as succinct and as clear as possible. In the same way, God says when you talk with your children you need to learn how to give them an argument, make it clear and don’t go on forever.
Sometimes, my directions as a father were not obeyed. When I pursued the matter further, I found out that my instructions were a little (or a lot) vague. Sometimes, in my mind things are clear, but I didn’t communicate that very well. At other times, when I said exactly what I meant, it was amazing how much better things went. Children, we are told, learn by good arguments. They need to be reproved. They need to know what’s good and what’s bad, they need to know what’s evil, what scriptural, what’s right and what’s wrong. We live in a modern world where everything is gray, but there’s still right and there’s still wrong. We need to consider what is rude and what is considerate. Everyone gets a set of values from somewhere. We might get those set of values from our teachers. We also get them from the media. One colleague of mine told me that his “bible” growing up was rock and roll music…now that is scary! The greatest set of clear and concise values comes from the Word of God.
There are three things about the Word of God, as it applies to values and our family. First of all, it’s practical. The amazing and best thing about the Word of God is that it is workable. This world’s values are so up and down. I mean, up one minute and down the next. They work in one era and then they don’t work in the next era but the Word of God is practical, it is balanced and it is sensible. Peter said everything we need for life is found in the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 1:3). I can tell you for the most part, at least for me, the values and so-called “truths” that I learned in a state high school and college were tainted. I believe I got more usable and accurate life information from kindergarten than my entire High School years! Not to mention the public college I went to. I’m convinced it was bent on destroying the minds of the students under the guise of “broadening horizons.” The values from the Word of God are practical.
Secondly, the Word of God is also proven. During my years, I have watched how public education styles have come full circle. State educators initially decried homeschooling as detrimental to a child’s well being. Now, these same districts offer complete home initiated study programs. It’s a crazy cycle. The Word of God has been in human hands for 6000 years. The values it propounds are proven - they stand the test of time.
The Word of God is practical, proven and thirdly it is positive. The world often characterizes God’s people as negative, but I have found exactly the opposite to be true. The truth is, that the most positive, helpful, upbeat and truly encouraging things come from Bible-believing Christians. Parents need to show children what scripture says. They need to be told and they need to be shown. Sometimes, all that’s needed to get children to obey is to simply tell them. Occasionally that works, but most of the time they will need to be told several times. That is normal. Telling is the first part of what it takes to get the job done. A “reproof” is a wise argument. It is a concise and clear statement of what is expected from them.