This web site is focused on gleaning a "gold nugget" from the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the current day of the month. The idea was first proposed to me years ago. After trying it, I found myself seeing the scenarios described in proverbs in my daily living. The option for making wiser decisions was becoming more apparent. The Book of Wisdom has lived up to its billing. Proverbs should not be the entirety of your bible reading, but it can be a valuable part of your daily discipline.
The Parent Trap
Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 21
Gold Nugget Verse 6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
A much quoted and dare I say misinterpreted scripture, is the focus and object of today's "Gold Nugget". Many a parent has felt the wrath and judgment of the much accepted meaning of this scripture. The common interpretation of Proverbs 22:6 is, "If you you raise up a child in the ways of the Lord, he/she will be saved." Implying that - should we do our jobs as parents, we can ensure our child's salvation. How many parents of adult children that do not serve the Lord cringe at the mention of this verse. Should they carry the burden of failing to do what was in their power to ensure their children's salvation?
We need to be reminded of a basic and foundational doctrine of Christianity. We can not save ourselves by our works, neither can we save another by our works. All of our holy living and godly parenting will not excuse our children from having to make their own decision to surrender their lives to their Creator. A godly person is not necessarily proof of a godly raising anymore than an ungodly person is proof of ungodly raising. "Everyone works out their own salvation with fear and trembling" Philippians 2:12
At closer examination, we read the verse to say "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." There is evidence of something absolute in the verse. "When he is old he will not depart from it". It is true, if you train up a child in the way he should (not will) go, he will notdepart from it. No matter which way you define the "will not depart", it will sum up to "unable to separate". It is my belief that if we raise children in the ways of the Lord, they will never be able to separate themselves from your teachings. Even when they are old, they will not be like those who have no knowledge of God and what God expects of them. They will not be able to live in peace with the knowledge of who God is and what He wants from them built inside of them. The inability to live at peace with that training built into their foundation will aid in their restoration, but will not guarantee their salvation. When our works as parents or any other role we play guarantees salvation, we know longer need a Savior.
Lord, help us who are still raising children see the intricate part we can play in your plan to redeem them. Help us to instill the truth of who you are in our children, so that it will never depart from them. For those of us that have raised our children to serve you and yet they don't, free us from any condemnation that may have been put upon us from the misinterpretation of this verse. Remind us that you are a just God and are not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. We know that you will pursue those that had an ungodly raising just as passionately as those who had a godly raising. Amen