Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
When youth move into adulthood with high Christian values, they get a head start in life and will thankfully escape many pitfalls! Parents can’t make children have character. They can, however, provide the framework for positive growth by taking advantage of an infallible textbook – the Bible. It is God’s plan for children to respectfully honor and listen to their elders, parents and those in authority.
Some would object to Solomon’s negative words about some children’s character, “Wait, are you saying that some children are wise and some are foolish?” Scripture points out that, indeed, some behavior is good and some is unacceptable. There is really no other way to say it. Modern parenting doesn’t always recognize this difference. All too often they say that children are not foolish or sinful, just individuals. They wrongly surmise that unbiblical behavior is just their child’s unique “style” and since that’s their “style”, we should let them express it. If they want to color outside the lines, then let’s let them do it. Biblical parenting says, “No, here’s the plan you’re going to adapt to”, and those that follow that are called wise children, and those that constantly resist are called, “scorners.”
Let me point out very clearly that we’re not talking about personality differences. When scripture speaks about a foolish person, it is not casting a bad light on their innate qualities being deficient. What it is speaking of is their moral fiber or character. There’s a difference between personality and character – personality is largely inherited, character is largely developed.
How to Develop Respectful Children and Youth:
1. Teach Children to Hear and not Just Listen
The scripture uses the term hearing as we might use the word listening. Sometimes we hear the audible sounds, but we’re not really letting truth sink in. No child automatically obeys. No youth automatically respects and honors authority or their parents. Disrespect is perhaps the most ancient of sins. Respect is certainly the most contrary character trait to try and teach. Disrespect is Satan’s sin. He said, “I will not honor, I will not respect and I will not submit myself to God.” And with that same attitude, the devil counseled Eve, “Do not submit to God. He doesn’t really want your good, He knows if you eat of that fruit then you’re going to be as wise as He is.” Satan’s plan is to influence each one of us to rebel against our authorities.
As parents, we must insist upon total allegiance, respect and honor for authority. It is vital for the welfare of our home, our nation, and for the child. Romans 13:1-4 says that our “powers” (authorities) are established by God and are there for our good. If I don’t teach my sons and daughters respect for human authority, then I fail to prepare them for divine authority. When children read the Bible and it tells them that they are sinful and they need to be saved, a humble heart will repent and say, “it’s true!”