Pastoral Letter 06 Mar 2022
My dear readers,
Parenting – Happy or Sad?
Proverbs 10:1: “The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”
Parenting can be very rewarding as well as heart breaking. If our children grow up to become men and women after God’s own heart all their lives, they will bring us the greatest joy. It is the greatest joy because we will be together in heaven forever. Our children will not only have the DNA of mom and dad, but also the blood of Jesus Christ that has washed away all our sins. The unity of the DNA of mom and dad is easily separated by death. But all who are washed by the blood of Christ are sealed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and nothing can separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
However, we also know that if our children grow up to be carnal and lovers of the world, our hearts will be broken. Sadness will flood our souls every time we remember them. Parents never forget their children.
The above two outcomes in bringing up children were presented by the LORD through the wisdom given to Solomon. The question to all young Christian parents is: which type of children do you want them to grow up to be . . . . WISE or FOOLISH?
All of us were born foolish because we were born sinners. All sinners are born with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. This is the sinful nature. Sinners are totally depraved. They are spiritually dead even though they are physically alive. They are also spiritually blind so that they are unable to see the wiles of the devil and thus will succumb to the seduction of him who is also known as the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
This means that our children are born foolish. The word “foolish” has nothing to do with the IQ. It has everything to do with their spiritual deadness and blindness. The child is foolish because he listens to the voice of the devil instead of God who is his Creator. He follows the devil’s voice. He sacrifices his precious life in the pursuit of vanity forgetting that he came into this world naked, and naked he will return. All that he does on earth will perish. The accolades and awards of men are foolishness and yet he longs for them like a thirsty man longing for cooling waters!
This foolishness is embedded in the nature of every human, from infancy to adulthood. Education cannot change it. He just becomes an educated fool. Money cannot erase it. It just enlarges his choices and makes him even more lustful. The praises of man are helpless to smoothen it. It fuels it even more by fanning the flame of the pride of life till he dies. This is what our children are predisposed to become if Christian parents do not provide an alternative way of life for their children from infancy! It is never too soon to show them the way of life as they are already traversing the way of death the moment they are born!
The “wise son maketh a glad (i.e. brings joy or brightens up) father.” The father is the head of every Christian home. He knows his godly responsibilities which include bringing his children up in the fear and admonition of the LORD. To accomplish this, he must first be a diligent student of God’s Word all his days. Knowing the Word of God fills him with the mind of Christ, given to all believers. He knows that the mere desire to have a godly home without a good knowledge of God’s Word will not result in a godly home.
Godly knowledge allows him to build his home one truth at a time like a house builder laying one brick at a time till the house is completed. He ensures that he and his wife are godly and holy witnesses before their children, for they see them for who they really are better than all the people of the world and in the church. There is no hypocrisy so cleverly hidden that their children will not behold. Truth by truth, prayer by prayer, hymn by hymn, the children will experience a Christ-honouring environment before they become Christians themselves. This external moulding of a Christian way of life into our children’s being will then be the way of life as they walk alongside their father and mother at home and in church. This will help our children to fight against the inward lusts as they would have experienced an alternative to their predisposed carnality due to their sinful nature.
Until Christ saves and transforms them by His saving blood there will be no real Christian walk. Salvation belongs to the LORD, but the responsibility to provide a Christian home belongs to all Christian fathers. Once the children become believers, then only can they be said to be wise. Here are three verses that teach when godly wisdom begins:
Psalm 111:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”
Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
The fear of the LORD drives them to God in Christ because they know they have sinned against God and only in Christ who died for them can their sins against God be forgiven. But if our children grow up to be fools, then they are the heaviness of (i.e. brings grief to) their mother. Why does God say it brings joy to fathers when sons are wise, but grief to mothers when sons are foolish? The reason is that father as head of the home is responsible for the spiritual well-being and direction of the home. Of course, when the father is glad so is the mother! The emphasis is one of headship and responsibility. When it brings grief to the mother it is because the mother’s love for the son is deeper than the father since she carried him in her womb for nine months. The bond between mother and child is unique. Of course, the father will also grieve if the son is foolish. The emphasis here is on the great pain that it brings to mother because of her great love. She will be wounded the deepest compared to everyone in the home. Furthermore, in biblical times when fathers worked in the fields as farmers and shepherds, mothers stayed home to care for the children from their birth. The bond between mother and child is deepened by the home care and love she gives daily. That is why after all the time spent with the son and he turns out to be foolish (i.e. carnal) in life and remain in depravity, her heart will be grieved above even that of the father’s!
The issue before every Christian parent is the choice you need to make now while your children are still young and their hearts are still malleable clay. The goal of bringing up children determines the direction, way and your daily emphasis when you share your lives and influence them. Note that they are born foolish. Only in Christ can they be made wise. Godly parents are the best parents to bring forth wise children who are also godly like their parents! Amen.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew