Children Pay A High Price

We all have come into the world without choice. It was the actions of others that brought us into the world and our dependence upon them was immediate. In most cases, the care was fully given to provide a warm and protective environment. The necessities of life were provided to allow us to grow to adulthood and enjoy a measure of life.

There are those children that are brought into the world dependent upon their parents who fail to provide the necessities of life. Some children die from neglect, some grow up in miserable conditions and many live in a world of misery from the neglect of those who should have provided for them. Our society seeks to provide the needs of these children and will prosecute those who would abuse children.

Clearly, the physical and emotional abuse of children is a sad and terrible blight upon a society that has so much. We live in a rich world of prosperity that seems nearly endless. It is difficult to imagine so many children having to pay such a high price for survival for things they were not responsible for. Because of the neglect of their parents, they suffer.

A greater sadness is born upon the stories of parents who have neglected to teach their children about God. The physical neglect can be overcome in time and the child can bring themselves out of the poverty of their childhood. Even the emotional struggles can be tempered by the passing years. The soul that is lost will be lost forever.

We do not speak of the myriad of children who live in a world filled with ungodliness and without God. They too suffer from the neglect of their parents to even seek God. But what about the children of Christian men and women who have failed to nurture and admonish their children in the love of the Lord? These children pay a higher price because they have lost so much.

These are the children of parents who believe that coming to the assembly once in while will cause their children to love their Lord with all their hearts. Many children have parents that do not see the value of gathering with the saints to sing and worship together. They grow up in a world dominated by the pursuit of material gain and recreation. As they enter young adulthood, their thoughts are not turning to the Lord but to the gain of popularity and riches.

These children very seldom obey the gospel. Their hearts are filled with mirth and song and reaching for the gusto of life. Their friends reflect their value system and soon they are drawn to the world of sin and pleasure. It may be the parents wonder why their children do not "go to church" anymore. The children are only manifesting what they have seen in their parents. What a high price they are paying. There are children whose parents attend regularly but it is more of a pew filling experience than anything else. Out of duty they come and sit and wait for the appointed hour of dismissal. Finally released they complain about the length of the sermon, the long prayers and why were the announcements were so long with all those sick people and so forth. And the children feel the same way and will grow up with the same dismal outlook of "church services" as mom and dad - if they even attend church or not. What a high price they pay for the neglect of their parents.

Children pay a high price for the lack of spiritual devotion from their parents. It may be that in later life, the parents begin to feel a stronger desire to serve God but too late for the children. They come to the preacher and beg him to help their teenage son or daughter to see the truth but it is too late. The child has seen the lack of love on the part of the parents and they have become like their parents of old. Now the parents begin to pay a high price for their neglect.

Eli judged the people of Israel for forty years (1 Samuel 4:18) but his children paid a high price for his lack of discipline upon them. "For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them." (1 Samuel 3:13) This neglect would carry over to the family of Eli during the reign of Solomon. (1 Kings 2:26,27)

"Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel ... So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel." (2 Chronicles 33:1,2,9) The Lord brought punishment upon Manasseh because of his wickedness and he repented - but it was too late for his son, Amon.

"Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them. And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. Then his servants conspired against him, and killed him in his own house." (2 Chronicles 33:21-24)

The story of Manasseh and Amon are repeated more often than not. A family will live for the devil while the children are growing up and later in life turn to the Lord. The children have already been impacted by the earlier life of the parents and leave the Lord, never to return.

Many parents shower their children with all the material wealth the world can offer and never afford them to opportunity to know the Lord.
An unknown poet wrote:

Daddy Had a little boy,
His soul was white as snow;
He never went to Bible class,
'Cause Daddy wouldn't go.

He never heard the Word of God
That thrills the child like mind.
While other children went to class,
This child was left behind.

As he grew from babe to youth,
Dad saw to his dismay,
A soul that once was snowy white
Became a dingy gray.

Dad even started back to church
And Bible study, too;
He begged the preacher,
"Isn't there A thing that you can do?"

The preacher tried and tried, and said
"We're just too far behind;
I tried to tell you years ago,
But you would pay no mind."

And so another soul was lost,
That once was white as snow;
Bible classes would have helped,
But Daddy wouldn't go.

Paul commended Timothy because of the blessing received from a godly mother and grandmother. "When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also." (2 Timothy 1:5) The price paid by Lois and Eunice was the "genuine faith" found in Timothy. No greater reward can a parent have than to find their children walking in the love of the Lord.

Someone said of Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go and go that way yourself." The truth of the proverb is found in the diligence of the parents to train and admonish their children daily in the cause of Christ and the love of the Lord. No matter how hard we try, children will mimic our behaviour and our value systems. If our faith and service to God are weak, our children will embrace the same type of faith.

By Kent Heaton

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