Parenting with a Diligent Hand, Part 2
- Monday, October 13, 2008
This is a big one. Biblically speaking, a friend is a shepherd who cares for you, guides you, and feeds you. That is true whether your friend is a right friend or a wrong friend.
A right friend will guide you the right way. A wrong friend will guide you the wrong way. The Bible is very clear in stating and illustrating the power and the destructiveness of wrong friends.
Because of the innate need in the human heart for friendship, parents will sometimes let their children have a friend even if he or she is a wrong friend. I want to tell you: Friendship is so powerful that if you even think that your child has a wrong friend, you would be wise to have the diligent hand that reaches out and pulls your child back on the right path, regardless of whether they like or understand what you’re doing.
One of the most foolish and destructive things parents can ever do is to let their child get off the right way in order to have a friend. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 28:7 tells us, “Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.”
For Christian families, where are the main areas where the children are likely to form friendships? Church services and activities, the neighborhood, and extracurricular activities, such as sports, hobbies or special classes, are all potential areas. Some of these things may be truly beneficial in some ways, but the more involved your children are in these things, the more diligent your hand has to be to know what is going on in the lives of your children. Anytime you see your child forming a wrong friendship, you have to do anything necessary to stop it.
“But it’s hard.” That’s why you have to be diligent. “But my hand is tired.” That is why you have to be diligent. “My child will be displeased and upset, and other people may get upset.” That is why you have to be diligent.
My wife and I were blessed with four daughters. They were and are the delight of our lives. And now their husbands and children are an equally great delight to us. But we learned that God made our girls with different strengths and weaknesses, and we had to study them to know what those strengths and weaknesses were.
Frankly, there were times even in the church where I’m the pastor that I could not let one of my girls out of my sight. She always had to be in my sight, and if she got out of my sight, I had to go looking for her. Other parents didn’t understand it, and we were criticized for doing what we did, but I’m still glad we did it. My only regret at this point is that I didn’t do it even more diligently than I did.
Parents, have a diligent hand that protects your children from wrong friendships at all times in all places. If your child has formed a friendship anywhere that is a wrong friendship, and you cannot be there with your child, you will probably have to pull your child out of that activity until you can be there so that you can get them back on the right path. Do anything you have to do to make sure your child does not let a friend pull him or her off the right path.
The Bible warns, “Love not the world.”
The problem is this: It’s easy to love the world. There are parents who, by seeking popularity for their children, will let them go off the right path. That is nothing more than love of the world. They want their child to be known among the “in crowd,” whoever that is.
The world has a powerful attraction and is highly addictive. You have to guard your children against the influences of the world.
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