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Weekly Word

Entries in Proverbs (1)

Wednesday
May112016

The Godly Mother

Proverbs 22:6.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on May 8, 2016 for Mother’s Day.

There are many adjectives that can be used to describe a mother.  Ultimately all of them would be classified as good or bad.  In our society today it is very clear that many women are struggling to embrace motherhood, much less being a good mother.  In fact that word can mean different things to different people.  I would suggest to you that for the believer being a good mom begins with being a godly mom.  A godly mom looks to Him for her direction, strength, wisdom, and purpose.  She wrestles with God and her child over those things out of her love for both.

Now we could highlight mistakes and errors that mom’s should avoid, and that would have its benefits.  However, it seems more important to strengthen the courage and dedication of mom’s so that the inevitable mistakes do not hijack their ability and desire to be a good mom.  Listen moms, don’t give up.  You are God’s gift to your child, mistakes and all.  Let the act of raising a child draw you closer to God and that will in turn draw you closer to your child.  Today we are going to look at a well known proverb that has given encouragement to some and a great sense of guilt to others.  Let’s look at it.

A Mom Trains Her Child

The word for child here is not a word that is focused on age.  It is a term that focuses on a person being untrained and in need of preparation for taking their place in society: an occupation, raising a family, etc…  Thus the term was used of a young person even up to the age of 30.  So this verse does have something to say about raising your small child.  But it is not limited to this.  A wise parent recognizes that part of their duty is to train and prepare this small child for taking their place in society.  The child will need a strong foundation of preparation that includes: instruction, discipline, and nurture (encouragement).

So what exactly is meant by the word training here?  The word points to a process of preparing someone for a trade or function.  However, it also has the sense of dedicating a person to that task.  As parents we can tend to focus so much on the right and wrong of teaching a child that we lose sight of the larger duty of launching a new person into society.  How we launch a young person into society is just as important as the things we have taught them.  Don’t get bogged down in the details of everything you can teach.  Instead keep in mind that the young person will grow up and make decisions for their self in the end.  Seek to be an influencer more than a teacher. 

This verse also reminds us that a child or even a young adult needs training.  Evolutionists see humans as just another animal.  However, we are the only “animal” that shows little if any true instincts.  The closest thing is our ability to pick up communication.  We are very dependent upon learning behavior from one another.  This pool of learning then becomes something that a young person can reflect upon and determine if they want to change or not.  Without nurture and instruction a child would die, and a young person trying to “reinvent the wheel” will be far less successful.  Thus this proverb is encouraging parents to give themselves to this task and teach them diligence, righteousness, integrity, etc. as well as the specific skills they need in life.  They are going to need both in everything that they do in life.

One thing the proverb leaves out is the issue of love (most likely because it is not focused on a parent with a small child).  You can teach your kid all the right things, but if you do it in a harsh, or resentful way, then it will harm the young person.  1 Corinthians 12 ends with this statement, “Earnestly desire the best gifts.  And yet, I show you a more excellent way.”  It then begins the next chapter with this, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”  Thus the Apostle Paul points out that having great gifts is not as important as using them in a loving way.  It could be said that though I spend every waking hour training my child until the day that he leaves, and yet have not love, it will profit me nothing.  Yes, love does correct and discipline.  But it also does so to successfully launch the child into life, rather than to control exactly what the young person does.  Of course, loving a child has its ups and its downs.  If we only look at the emotional side of love, we will see that it fluctuates often.  A young mom can come to resent the loss of “fun.”  They can also grow weary with the incessant needs of a child.  Yet, love is more than a feeling.  Love begins with a decision to act for the good of another person.  When Jesus faced the cross his emotions were putting on the brakes.  Yet, Jesus still decided to do the supreme act of love because he knew it would be for the good of all mankind.  Now let’s look at the second half of that proverb.

The Child Will Take Its Place In Life

No child remains a child, and no novice stays a novice.  The incessant persistence of a child to grow and change can be daunting to a parent.  However, the child will eventually become an adult regardless of what you do and how you do it.  All training comes to an end.  In fact, training often adapts to the stage of the person learning.  It will not help a young person if you teach a 16 year the same things and in the same way that you would a 2 year old.  Thus training must adapt and then eventually launch.  Yes, a person should continue training in any field, but at that point it becomes self-directed.  The adult has learned to become a self-directed learning.  A parent has to learn to step back and let the young adult begin living life.  Of course you want to be available and help as much as possible, but in the end, they need to live their life.  Prayer becomes a huge part of our duty at that stage.

It has been said that our eternal destiny is not to be fathers, mothers, and children.  Rather, it is to be brothers and sisters in the family of God.  Yes, in this life you are the “older, wiser sister.”  But you need to let your child grow up and take their place beside you in the family of God.

This brings me to my last point.  I mentioned at the beginning of the sermon that this proverb has given encouragement to some and a great sense of guilt to others.  What I meant by that is this.  Some people see it as a guarantee that if they teach their child to serve God then they won’t leave the faith when they are old.  Yet, those who have a child rebel, leave the faith, and perhaps die in unbelief, can feel a deep sense of guilt.  “What did I do wrong?  Why didn’t God bring them back to Him?”  Part of this dynamic is because we misunderstand how this verse is to be taken.  It is not intended to be taken as a promise or guarantee from God.  It is not a “recipe” for making a saved adult that always works.  Proverbs are sayings of wisdom that teach us the issues involved in making a wise decision.  A classic example of this is to look at these two proverbs.  “Rebuke a fool, lest he think he is wise.”  “Do not rebuke a fool, lest he turn and tear you.”  These give us insight into dealing with a fool, but they leave you with the question, “So when do I rebuke and when do I not?”  The wisdom comes from contemplating the weight of either result.  So one would not be quick to rebuke one who has proven to be a fool, but eventually the day will come when a rebuke must be given.  Thus, it is wise for a parent to train their child in the ways of the Lord and in the ways of society.  However, this verse is not a guarantee that they will not fail.  In fact, where other people are involved the outcome cannot and should not be controlled.  Without free-will we destroy any foundation for a loving relationship.  Thus, God Himself has taught mankind righteousness, but He does not try to control our choices and actions.  Why?  He does so because He wants a loving relationship with us and not the relationship of a slave.  So moms, don’t give up.  Love your child to the day they become an adult and beyond.  The time of training will come to an end.  Hopefully it will bear much fruit over the years.  But know this for sure, whether your child turns out good or not will be up to them.  Just make sure that you are a godly influence, and your Father in heaven will be pleased.

The Godly Mother audio