Here is a lesson for young people, from a loving and godly parent: “do not think highly of yourself; do not trust your young and inexperienced instincts and emotions; do not trust your own wisdom.”
Conversely, fear the Lord and depart from evil. It is perhaps unsurprising and understandable that the writer would pair “fearing God” with “departing from evil.” Certainly if we fear the holy and good God then we will automatically be striving to avoid and overcome sin in our lives.
But it is revealing that the author contrasts the wisdom of youth with departing from evil. Rather than being wise in your own eyes, he says, depart from evil. It is as if he assumes there will be a tendency in the young heart to play too closely with sin. So he warns not to trust that deceitful drive behind your emotions and affections but, instead, fear God and avoid sinful situations.
Here is also a lesson for the parent, though. First, you should recognize the same weakness and propensity in your child to rub shoulders with sin and assume it will do no harm. You are to know better, and you are to guide them according to this knowledge.
Also, it is obvious that it is your job, as parents, to teach your children to 1) fear God, and 2) avoid sin. If you are negligent in either of these tasks, then you are clearly not following the biblical model. You cannot expect them to do either on their own.
Children, fear God and depart from evil; parents, teach your children the same.
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