“For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.” I Samuel 3:13 (NIV)
Eli was held responsible for not restraining his sons….. So what about me as a parent? Am I “restraining” my sons? Am I responsible for holding them back from doing things that are “blasphemous” and offensive to God? It appears so!
So parents aren’t permitted, it sounds like, to just do “as best as they can” and wash their hands of the rest? This should cause everyone considering parenthood to inquire of God if they are ready for it!
I am guilty of getting disgusted with my sons bad behavior, as I suppose Eli did, and throwing up my hands and saying “Okay, I warned you, this is your problem now.” But apparently that does not fly well with God, and although it appears that many (most?) parents are throwing up their hands about their kids behavior, it’s not enough in God’s eyes. We are responsible for doing what we can to “rein in (restrain) our children.
God expect us to parent our kids in a way that sets them upon the right path. I know, first hand, that there are 101 things that I “need” to do each day that distract me from being a good father, but truly, aside from my relationship with Jesus Christ, the manner in which I raise and restrain my boys is the most important thing I will ever do. I am raising the leaders of the next generation.
The problem I have, and perhaps the same problem David, Solomon and Eli had, is a certain fear of doing the right thing (i.e. restraining/discipling my sons) and losing their affection. It seems that so many sins have more to do with cowardice than brazenness. Parents aren’t supposed to live for the affection of their children, but willingly give up their lives for their sons and daughters. That might include temporarily giving up a relationship with a child in order to “restrain them”, disciple them or exercise “tough love”.
I don’t God ever stays up late at night worrying if I will love Him less if He does what is best for me—even if I don’t like it; come to think of it I don’t think my parents ever did either! So why am I like this? ….and I am not alone.
It seems like moms and dads today are far more like Eli, David and Solomon that God or Betty and Lewis Barley. But I still have time to change…..