As a parent, I want to think I can control the outcome of my children's lives. You might not put it in those words, but you are probably drawn to that idea. If I can just raise them a certain way, then they will turn out the way that I want.
For some parents, this might sound controlling, or "un-Christian," but the reality is, in the deep recesses of our heart, we think we would love for this to be true. We think if we can just get them the right training, equipment, put them in the right surroundings, they will become everything we've dreamed for them to be; The best athlete, musician, scholar, scientist, socialite, Christian...
We want what is best for our kids. We want to see them prosper. We want to have them live the best lives possible. So we will set out to do our best to raise our kids. But if we are honest, that is a lot of pressure. One mess up and it could ruin our kids for life.
So what is our role as parents? Should we be seeking to control the outcome?
In all this, I am not trying to knock doing your best as a parent, and I am not trying to say that you don't have a huge influence over your kids, but the idea that we can control an outcome... That is for God, not us.
God generally will use good parenting in a child's life, but it is no guarantee. Scripture shows 4 different examples of parenting and their outcomes.
Godly Parenting - Outcome of a Godly Child - Example: Timothy
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Tim. 1:5 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Timothy%201:5)
Ungodly Parenting - Outcome of an Ungodly Child - Example: Amon
Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. He followed completely the ways of his father, worshiping the idols his father had worshiped, and bowing down to them. He forsook the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and did not walk in obedience to him. 2 Kings 21:19-22 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2021:19-22)
Ungodly Parenting - Outcome of a Godly Child - Example: Josiah
Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace. Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah his son king in his place. As for the other events of Amon’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza. And Josiah his son succeeded him as king. Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. 2 Kings 21:23-22:2 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2021&version=NIV , https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2022&version=NIV)
Godly Parent - Outcome of an Ungodly Child - Example: Manasseh
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 2 Kings 21:1-3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2021&version=NIV)
So the Bible clearly shows that parenting doesn't guarantee the outcome. Deep down, you know this to be true. Many of you have seen the example of child a coming from a home situation that was horrible and God stepped in and saved that child. Some of you have come from a situation like that.
It is important to know that it is not our responsibility to control the outcomes of our kids lives, it is God's.
Our kids are individuals, and they need their own personal relationship with God (Rom. 10:10-13), and no matter how hard you try, you can't make a person love God. God is the one that saves (Eph. 2:8-9). God is the one in control.
So what is our responsibility? In Part 2, we will look into this.