Bible Reading: Proverbs 17.19-24
He who loves transgression loves strife; he who raises his door seeks destruction. He who has a crooked mind finds no good, and he who is perverted in his language falls into evil. He who sires a fool does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom to pervert the ways of justice. Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
Recently, my wife and I were riding along in her car, and as we exited the highway, we nearly got hit by someone driving in the left lane of the service road. In a brief moment of outrage, I remarked, “That guy completely ignored the yield sign!” You see, in the State of Texas, we are required to yield to traffic coming off a highway. Sadly, not everyone pays attention to those YIELD signs.
In some ways, I believe the above passage also is warning sign to us. I’ve highlighted verse twenty one, because I’m stunned by the simple yet powerful message this has to parents. To parent a child into Godly adulthood is one of the most difficult and challenging things we face. It’s hard work. It also takes a commitment to personal godliness. As important, it also takes a great deal of wisdom and patience.
But what happens when we fail as a parent? Recently, the national news was abuzz with a story about a young lady who was on the outs with her family and friends over the name she had selected for her soon to be born child. She was angry that they would not support and celebrate her choice of a first name. Her choice? Abcde. Pronounced “Ab City.” This woman was mercilessly mocked nationwide.
Just for a moment, try to put yourself into the shoes of her parents. What did we do wrong? How can we get her to change her mind? Perhaps they failed as parents. But what about those parents who did everything to the best of their ability, and still their child chose poorly, perhaps even ended up in jail, or worse? Just as a newborn child does not come with a user manual, neither do they come with a money back guarantee. All we can do as parents is to lovingly and consistently attempt to guide them into the pathways of the Gospel of Grace, ever pursuing that moment when they too claim allegiance to the Lord of all creation. Never give up loving them in all wisdom and patience. Even when they are knuckleheads.
Memory Verse: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17.22