Samson’s parents did not say it to him. (Judges 14) David probably
did not say it very often to Absalom. Samuel did not say it enough to his sons. (1 Sam. 2)
What is it that these parents failed to express to their children? It is the word,
With all the emphasis placed on children over the past several decades,
and much of it was needed, the pendulum has swung too far. The truth is that in many
families children are now the focal point and in far too many families they actually run
the show. As a result discipline is completely missing, or is often threatened but never
administered. In some cases the children actually come before the parents’ marriage.
Too many parents are afraid that they might offend the child by saying,
"No!". The psychologists have stressed so much that children need to be loved,
and parents must devote "quality time" to them, that many parents simply bend
over backwards in fear that the child might be deprived his wish. The result is that the
family revolves around the children and the children set the direction of the family. Too
often time proves this to be a mistake.
Children decide on a regular basis what the meals will be, where the
family will go on vacation, or whether they will get a pool, or not. They dictate such
things as, the brand of clothes they will wear, their hair style, and the family schedule.
Gymnastics, soccer, little league, and other similar activities take center stage, and
everyone else’s schedule falls in line.
This often carries over into the local assembly where young people are
given all they want, and soon the assembly finds its direction set by the younger ones as
Having said all this, does this mean we simply ignore our children and
the young people in the assembly—not at all! It does, however, mean that we need to
keep things in proper perspective, and that children and young people need to learn that
the world does not revolve around them. (The natural man is already the center of his
world without encouraging it further.) One of the great lessons to be learned in spiritual
growth is to "look on the things of others." (Phil. 2:4) To have a concern for
the interests of others, and to look away from "self." This is exactly the
attitude that is being stresses in the lovely portion that follows which describes the
"mind of Christ"—He was "others" minded.
To place the children above all else and to give them all that they demand, and to
simply allow them to go unchecked is, in fact, an expression of a lack of love and a
source of ultimate shame. (Prov. 29:15)