2 John 1:4-8
v4“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.”
Kevin Donnelly, current director of the Education Standards Institute here in Australia suggested that parents “needed to play a bigger role in teaching their children respect for authority.” And, he’s right!
He said, parents in the Western culture, like in Australia, do not discipline children God’s way. They are not teaching their children respect for authority, and that has left us with many problems. Just as the culture has abandoned the foundation of God’s Word for its worldview regarding such issues as marriage and the sanctity of life, so also it has abandoned the authority of Scripture in discipline of children.
Secular psychology rejects that children are sinners and instead- teaches that children are basically “good.” This is a false premise and it will never lead to the exercise of biblical discipline of children. Children are no different than adults when it comes to sin, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Many people, including some Christians, fail to realize that one God-given aspect of biblical discipline is corporal punishment—and God tells parents to use it in disciplining their children. Of course, there are some people who have abused children with force, but the Bible reject this misuse of corporal punishment.
Any discipline, whether corporal or otherwise, must be motivated by love, being concerned for the best interests of the child. When we discipline our children, we are attempting to teach them wisdom and to show them right from wrong. If we discipline biblically and in love, our children will grow to respect us as parents for it, recognizing that we, too, are under God’s authority. Furthermore, they will learn to respect those in authority outside of the home, whether teachers, government officials, or employers.
“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth…” These words are clearly from someone who is thrilled to see that the children whom he’s invested his life is walking in truth. He was certainly talking about the church in this verse, but the fact that he talks about children walking in truth can also apply to your family.
One of the great desires that Christian parents have is for their children to continue to walk in truth after they leave home. There is no guarantee that children will walk in truth. You can train them right, but in the end they have their own choices. I do believe there is some things parents can do to give their children the best opportunity to walk in truth. There are several principles taught in the Scripture that I believe it will help every parent in training their children to walk in truth.
First, love them unconditionally. In verse 5, John talks about loving one another. I know this sounds strange to say that we should love unconditionally, but many homes are filled more with manipulation than they are with love. Love is not manipulating your children to get from them to act the way you want, but it is accepting them for who they are and firmly guiding them to do right. Gain the trust and love of your children like good friends.
Parents, if you desire to demonstrate biblical love to your children, then exercise biblical discipline. Our culture would benefit greatly from parents disciplining their children God’s way. Proverbs 26:2 says, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Every child is gifted of God and this will show in what that child is inclined to do. Another way of understanding this verse is we need accept them for what has gifted them to do. If they are inclined to be an engineer, don’t force them to become a nurse.
It is true that the Bible also tells us that we were shapen in iniquity; and in sin did our mother conceive us as Psalm 51:5 says. This is the reason why God has a lot of instructions in the Bible for parents to train and teach them in the ways and instructions of God.
Deut 6:5-8 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Sadly, many parents have ulterior motives behind every action, and those ulterior motives are nothing less than manipulation. Your children will eventually pick up on your manipulation tactics and will begin to play on this weakness. Instead of manipulating your children to make them act the way you want, you should let them know what you expect from them and that you love them no matter what.
Second, set definite rules, boundaries and limitations. He says in verse 6, “This is the commandment…” There must be clear rules established in every home if you want your children to walk in truth. Those rules must be followed because a rule not enforced is no rule at all.
In fact, rules not enforced create excuses to punish them when you are angry, which is wrong. Btw, defer your punishment when you are angry. Cool down first. And get back to it when you are no longer upset. Give yourself time to think, to be able to talk calmly and sensibly to your child for him to understand the reason why he/she deserves punishment. You must have rules, but you must also enforce them if you want your children to walk in truth.
Third, be an example of walking in truth. In verse 6 he says about the commandments of God’s Word, “…as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” Also back in Deut 6:6 it says, And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: It shall be in your heart first before you can teach them diligently to your children. You can tell your children to do right, but the best way to show them how to do right is by doing right yourself.
Btw, haven’t you noticed that most people with leadership qualities are coming from parents who either were leaders in church, community or in school? Bro Ray had encouraged every one of our men here to study a topic and be able to preach it. Take the chance.
This will not happen anywhere. And it has to happen here because we are family and there is no need to be embarrassed. Do you ever realise that even if your children would not say it, the effect is, “if dad can do it, I can do it better.” Through your leadership here, your children could be leaders in School and in church one day.
Children will follow the example of how you live more than they will the words you say. You have a better chance of your children walking in truth by letting your commandments and words mirror each other. They should see no difference between what you are living and what you expect from them.
Fourth, beware of deceivers and keep your children from them. In verse 7, John addressed that there are deceivers in the world. Friend, there are people from whom you need to keep your children away from, even from members who are not living right; whose jokes and communications are not Christly.
And do not allow your children to sleep on someone’s houses. Protect them. They are precious. One day they will be grateful to you for that. Other people cannot take care of your children as much as you do. If you want your children to walk in truth, you are going to have to be keen who that your children associates with. Observe who their friends are without nagging it on their ears.
Impact into the hearts of your children that their ways, as children of God, had to be different from that of their classmates, who do not know the Lord. Remember that associations and friends will influence direction. If you protect the associations and friends that both you and your children have, you will give yourself a better chance of your children walking in truth. These four areas will help your children walk in truth, but they will fail if a parent is not earnestly praying for their children to do right. Prayer and your example of living are the best tools to guiding your children to walk in truth. We’ll try to talk some more of this next Sunday, God willing. Let us pray.