Summary: Godly parents don't always produce godly children.
When Good Parenting Goes Bad
Rev. Brian Bill
How many of you are Chicago Blackhawks fans? How many of you are fans now that they’re playing in the finals for the Stanley Cup? I confess that I’m in the latter group as I’ve been caught up in the excitement…there are certainly no other Chicago teams worth rooting for, especially in football!
I admire the hard work and gritty determination that hockey players demonstrate. A perfect example of this was what happened during the second period of the Hawks’ 4-2 victory in the Western Conference finals when veteran defenseman Duncan Keith lost seven teeth when he was hit in the mouth with a puck. I broke one tooth when I was participating in a pie eating contest and someone shoved my head down onto the table – it killed! I can’t imagine the pain of losing seven of them!
Here’s how he described what happened: “I took one breath and it felt like my whole mouth was missing so I knew there were some teeth gone…I saw a couple fall out and I had one in the back of my throat. I could feel it and coughed it out. A bunch of them disintegrated it felt like. That sort of thing happens. I’m not the only guy who’s ever lost a bunch of teeth or been hit in the mouth with a puck or stick and I’m sure I won’t be the last guy” (chicagobreakingsports.com).
Some of you feel like you’ve been smacked in the mouth or checked into the boards because of some choices your children are making. Your pain is persistent and you have hurting hearts today as you wonder where your child’s wandering heart is. While you know that you’ve not been a perfect parent (who is?), you don’t understand why your child is doing what he or she is doing.
I hope you know by now that I’m certainly not a perfect parent. I feel like Charlie Shedd, who used to do a parenting seminar when he was single. It was called, “How to Raise Your Children.” After he got married, he changed the title to “Some Suggestions for Parents.” Then, after he had his first child, he changed it again: “Feeble Hints to Fellow Strugglers.” After he had three kids, he stopped giving the seminar altogether. That reminds me of the lady who jumped on a bus with five kids. The bus driver asked, “Are these all your kids or is it a picnic?” To which she responded, “They’re all mine and it’s no picnic.”
An Example of Good Parents
A U.S. News and World Report article two years ago called, “Good Parents, Bad Results” makes this statement: “The challenges of rearing competent and loving human beings are enough to make a parent seek help from Supernanny. Actually, there is something better: science” (6/12/08). While we can learn from Supernanny and from science, our best bet is to go to the Scriptures where we’ll see that godly parents don’t always produce godly children.
I’d like us to spend some time this morning looking at some parents who tried their best, only to see their son head down a bad path. Please turn in your Bibles to Judges 13 where we’re introduced to a husband and a wife who were sterile and couldn’t have any children. The Angel of the Lord appears to the wife and tells her that she will conceive and have a son. She’s then given some prenatal instructions, including the importance of avoiding alcohol and bad food. From the very beginning, even while he was in his mother’s womb, he was to be “set apart” for the Lord’s work. Verse 5 tells us that he was to be a Nazirite, which meant he was to avoid any contact with grapes or the drinking of wine, he was to never touch a dead body of any kind, and he was to let his hair grow and not get it cut.
The wife then went to her husband to announce the good news and he immediately prays for some parenting help in verse 8: “O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” I see some neat things in this prayer.
* Respect for God. Listen to how he begins his prayer: “O Lord…” This is an emphatic form that focuses on God as ruler. He recognizes that God is in charge and that he as a man is subject to his Master. This is pretty amazing because 13:1 tells us that the spiritual climate among the Israelites was not good and that they had been subject to the Philistines for 40 years. Friends, no matter how far south our society slides, hold on to the Lord and walk with Him no matter what.