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Raising children is a most serious mission. Parents have a great responsibility before God to do what is right. If children are to grow up in the fear of the Lord, the “nurture and admonition” given by their parents must come from the Lord and have His approval. The following are some Bible principles for raising children:
1-Inspire Devotion to God
Parents should tenderly invite their children to build a relationship with their Creator based on love (1 John 4:19), for love is the fundamental principle of His law (Mark 12:29, 30). Jesus said, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5).
In raising children, parents have a great responsibility to instruct their children daily in matters of duty and eternal destiny. “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged” (Deuteronomy 6:1–2).
Solomon affirmed the good consequences of godly instruction, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The parents godly efforts to gear the children in the right path will in most cases have good rewards.
Beside instruction, in raising children, there is a need for discipline. The Bible states: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). When care and discipline are rightly used, they produce a beneficial result. Either their neglect or overuse brings failure (Proverbs 10:13; 13:24; 23:13). Discipline should be coupled with care for the Lord’s chastening is an indication of His tender care (Revelation 3:19).
In addition, there is a need for restraining children when they do wrong. The Lord rebuked Eli the high priest for not restraining his children from doing evil. The Lord said, “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (1 Samuel 3:13). Elie’s failure in restraining his children, led to their death (1 Samuel 4:11).
5-Don’t Provoke the Children to Anger
The Bible gives a principle for raising children, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Some parents aggravate their children by demanding of them unjust, inconsistent, irritating, or even brutal demands. These should be avoided completely.
In raising children, parents need to teach them obedience. For to love perfectly is to obey wholeheartedly (John 14:15; 15:10). The Bible says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). Some have wrongly suggested that a child should be left to form his own religious ideas, since it is unfair to force them upon him when he is unable to think for himself. This argument is false, for it is impossible for a child to grow up without religious instruction. A child does not have the adequate knowledge nor the experience to do what is right. If parents do not teach their children obedience, someone else will teach them rebellion.
Parental requests should be in harmony with the will of God (Acts 5:29). “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). This must not be interpreted as including any requirement contrary to God’s will. A sinful command lays no obligation on the child. The sphere of obedience is the Lord and the Scriptures.
Raising children requires that Parents love their children as God loves them and gave His life to save them (John 3:16). The ultimate expression of divine love is the Father’s gift of His own Son (John 3:16). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)
How is love defined in the Scriptures? “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Love is the reverse of hatred, which manifests itself in severity, anger, harshness, unkindness, and revenge. A parent who really loves his child is willing to do him all good and seeks to promote his happiness by being compassionate, tenderhearted and courtesous (1 Peter 3:8).
In His service,