Monday, March 23, 2009

A Different Kind of Family Debt

By Todd Clippard

What parents do not owe their children:

The latest fashion (Acts 10:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; James 2:1-10). We need to teach our children to earn admiration and respect through character and not clothing.

The hottest toys and games (Ecclesiastes 1:4, 8). Look through your house at all the “gotta have it” toys that haven’t been touched in months. I wrapped all these one year and gave them as anonymous gifts to needy families. Not once did anyone ask “what happened to my . . .?” or “where is my . . .?”

A car and money to burn (1Timothy 6:10-11). There’s nothing inherently wrong with buying your children a car, but most 16 year-olds think they are OWED a car at 16. Take a group to the mall or on a youth trip and see who has the most spending money—it’s not the adults!

A life free from pain or embarrassment. The Bible says that all who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Peter said, “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but rather glorify God” (1 Peter 4:16).

What parents do owe their children:

A godly example (Psalm 85:13; cf. 1 Peter 2:21-22). Jesus gave His disciples an example (John 13:15), as Paul did his (1 Corinthians 11:1).

A good name (Proverbs 21:9; cf. 25:24).

A peaceful home (Proverbs 21:9; cf. 25:24).

Objectivity (Proverbs 19:18). Everyone (including teachers, the police, etc.) is not “out to get” your child.

Structure and discipline (1 Samuel 3:13). Children need to understand the consequences of violating the boundaries.

What children owe their parents:

Love (1 John 4:19).

Respect (Ephesians 6:1-3)—For the name they wear, especially when their parents aren’t around.

Obedience The word obey in Ephesians 6:1 is from the Greek compound hupakouo (hupo=under +akouo =hear or give the ear to). Literally it means “to listen with the intent to obey” (cf. 1 Samuel 3:9-10).

Submission (1 Peter 5:5).

Proper care when they become aged (Proverbs 23:22; 1 Timothy 5:4). The word despise in the phrase “despise not thy mother when she is old” means to hold in contempt or as insignificant (it is an antonym of reverence). Your parents helped you with your first steps; help them with their last. Your parents made sure your home was clean and your food was hot—don’t let them live in squalor. If you can’t take care of your parents, find someone who can. 1 Timothy 5:8 says that a failure to properly care for your parents disrespects them, disgraces the church, denies the faith, and damns your soul.

Be sure to pay all your family debts!

- Todd Clippard preaches for the Burleson church of Christ in Hamilton, AL. He may be contacted through the congregation’s website:

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