Summary: Part 3 of 3...on helping the home teach the children respect


sermon ministry of


Thomasville, NC


April 21, 2002


So far in this series we have addressed the matters of teaching and requiring our children to respect God, and other people. We adopted a working principle for all three messages:

We must raise our children in a Christian atmosphere, so they become Christians who mature in grace and knowledge, and therefore contribute to changing this world in accordance with God’s will.

This week we will investigate teaching our children self respect.

Self respect comes from having strong character. Say whatever you want about what constitutes self respect, but it cannot exist apart from a strong, Godly character. D. L. Moody said Character is what you are in the dark. [1]

America’s folk philosopher Will Rogers had his stab at defining character; he said, So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip.[2]

Where does character come from? How does it arrive? After all, everyone has character; not everyone’s character is something about which you’d want to boast. Charles Swindoll, in Growing Deep in the Christian Life [3], tells about a man who bought fried chicken dinners for himself and his date late one afternoon. The attendant at the fast food outlet, however, inadvertently gave him the proceeds from the day’s business--a bucket of money (much of it cash) instead of fried chicken. Swindoll writes:

"After driving to their picnic site, the two of them sat down to enjoy some chicken. They discovered a whole lot more than chicken--over $800! But he was unusual. He quickly put the money back in the bag. They got back into the car and drove all the way back. By then, the manager was frantic.

"Mr. Clean got out, walked in, and became an instant hero.” I want you to know I came by to get a couple of chicken dinners and wound up with all this money here.’

"Well, the manager was thrilled to death. He said, ’Let me call the newspaper. I’m gonna have your picture put in the local paper. You’re one of the most honest men I’ve ever heard of.’

"To which the man quickly responded, ’Oh, no. No, no, don’t do that!’ Then he leaned closer and whispered, ’You see, the woman I’m with--she’s, uh, somebody else’s wife.’ "

So, I ask again, Where does strong character come from? I maintain it is in the hands and lives of Mom and Dad (the home), and our society – but mostly it is formed in the home. It happens in the everyday of life.

I believe we can teach our children to have a self-respect that will build a strong Godly character. It is a matter of balancing discipline and instruction with our own daily example, and it is not the impossible dream, even in a society where ethics and character are not required any more – even with presidents.

As always, God’s word, the Bible, has the answers. As the parts and service manual is to the repairman, the Holy Scriptures is to any parent who would teach his children respect for himself.

Here is Ephesians 6.4 in two different translations:

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:

but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (KJV)

4Fathers, don’t make your children bitter about life.

Instead, bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction. (GWT)

The issue of making children bitter about life, is the matter of

…the overbearing or abusive parent who frustrates his child by never allowing him room for growth or mistakes.

…it is also the parent who makes endless rules, then changes them as his own mood changes.

…it is the father or mother that yells, rather than communicates.

…it is the household where children begin to understand they will never be good enough, never meet the parent’s standards.

This is the place of children provoked to wrath, who grow up cynical and angry. It is the perfect medium for the growth of bacteria known as hatred; it winds up in the tragedy of a Columbine High School.

We can do better. There is the second half of that verse, but bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction. That is our mission this morning. Let’s look at six characteristics of CHARACTER-BUILDING parents…

I. Committed enough to the Faith to pass it along.

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Deuteronomy 4:9 (KJV)

Many people in America attend church, and even Sunday School. Some come every time the doors swing open. That is good. However, it is no replacement for evangelizing your kids.

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