Children of believers, whether baptized or not, are not aliens in the Kingdom of God. They are full-fledged members of the Kingdom of our God. This edition of our Newsletter details the responsibility of Christian parents or guardians towards the minors or children of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus Christ Welcomes Children
Children are sometimes isolated from their parents in Christian gatherings so that those parents could concentrate on the ongoing activities. Their isolation should not only create a conducive atmosphere for the parents to participate, but they should be taught what their ages and development allow in the church. This was the case of the disciples of the Messiah as indicated below:
“And they also brought infants to Him, that He might touch them. But when the disciples saw, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them and said, Allow the little children to come to Me, and forbid them not. For of such is the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no way enter into it” (Luk 18:15-17, Matt 19:13-15).
The infants being spoken of here were not adults who were babies in the Christian faith as the one described by Peter (1Pet 2:2). They were literally, children, who were being brought to Jesus Christ, not to be baptized, but to be blessed by Him. The actions of the disciples displeased Jesus Christ who rebuked them and caused the children to be brought to Him for His blessings. The Kingdom of God belongs to Children so they should not be resisted from entering into it or driven out of it by the adults. Proper integration or inclusion of our children, in our services and programs, is essential for their nurturing.
Nurturing the Children
One of the major responsibilities of parents is to train up their children in ways that are approved and accepted by God. Parents are being commanded to train up their children in the way they should go so that when they grow up they will not depart from it (Pro 22:6). When God called Abraham, he was expected, as part of his responsibility, “to command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment, that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him” (Gen 18:18).
The above paragraph is an indication that the care of our children has been entrusted into the hands of the responsible parents. Adults should not ignore this noble task and expect God to do that. It is hoped that if parents do their parts, God would take care of the rest. Buying them material things is good but the training required for our children should be holistic. This should include their social, physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.
In socializing children into our societies, parents ought to train the children in love but not by compulsion. Apostle Paul reaffirms this in his Epistle to Titus. Here, he instructs Titus to teach the aged women to train the younger women to love their husbands and their children (Tit 2:3-4). This does not mean that the fathers are not supposed to love their children. The instruction was given to the women because they were directly responsible for taking care of the children.
Scriptures discourage believing fathers from provoking their children to wrath but to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 6:4). Paul intimates that provoking children to wrath has the likelihood of discouraging them (Col 3:21). Some of the things that provoke children might include harsh disciplinary actions meted out to them. The screaming, insults and beatings would not make them better but would only discourage them. These practices would not reveal God´s love for humanity to the children. If there is the need to discipline children, it should be done out of love, for God chastises those he loves with the intent that they shall be corrected and edified (Heb 12:5-11).
As already highlighted in Tit 2:3-4 above, children must be loved at every cost. They may be insubordinate, disrespectful, sexually immoral, violent and all other negative descriptions, Christian parents should not disown them. All parents need to take cognizance that hatred, bitterness, disowning and others do not produce the righteousness of God in children, but showing affection, love and godly nurturing do. It is written that when we were still sinners God demonstrated His love towards us (Rom 5:8). This attitude of God should be exhibited by all Christian parents. Sometimes, parents are bothered about their children behavior because of what the society would say about them. As for believing parents, rejecting and ostracizing your homosexual children from the family would not bring them back. Parents constantly praying for their children, teaching them the Gospel of Christ, training them in the ways of God and engaging them in dialogue would be a better remedy for them. Parents ought to live with their children with understanding and love.
Parents ought not to be depressed over the misconduct of their children. If they do, they may die prematurely and leave those children behind. This would make their lives worse, and if they should repent in the future, their parents would not be there to encourage them and give them the needed support. Parents are being encouraged to seek pastoral and professional family therapy if they discover that the situation is outside of their abilities. This would help salvage the situation before it becomes too late.
Children are part of the household of God and they need to be treated with respect and dignity. They may be disobedient to their parents but the parents must continue to show them love and affection coupled with godly discipline. threatening and fighting or humiliating them would not help but the godly counsel and early intervention is the key.
Prayer: Thank you Lord God for the wonderful children you have given to your children. We pray for your wisdom and guidance as we guide and lead them to adulthood. Grant unto them the spirit of obedience and zeal for your house. In Jesus´ name. AMEN!