FROM: 12/1/02 Radio Program
Why do children turn their backs on what they have been taught?
What a sad situation it is when children turn their backs on what they have learned from parents. Why does this
happen? Perhaps only those who have committed such an act know for sure. Perhaps there are many factors which
might enter into the mind of one who forsakes the teaching and instruction of parents. While I certainly do not know
all the answers, to boil it down in simplest terms, ultimately the reason children might turn their backs on what they
have been taught is because they made a conscious decision to do so. While we might not agree with the decision
made, it is nonetheless their decision, and they will have to live with the consequences. Each person is a free moral
agent, capable of choosing and making decisions concerning their actions. These may be right or they may be wrong,
but they are their choices, and not ours. James said, "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,
and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death"
(James 1:14-15). Note the phrase: "his own. " It is "his own" lusts (not his parents') which draws him away and
entices him. It is "his own" lust that when it conceives, it brings forth "his own" sin, and this sin when it is finished,
or full-grown, brings forth "his own" death! Some may refer to Solomon when he said, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he
will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Bear in mind however, that this proverb is just that - a proverb or
truism. It is a statement made which is generally true, but there are exceptions to it. Some may be taught right
from wrong, and still turn their backs on their parents (and ultimately God). This is a tragedy.
Though we cannot stop our children from making wrong decisions, the question we ought to ask is, "What
can I do?" There are a few things which can be done, beginning with prayer! Pray for your child, that he/she will
have time and opportunity to be right with God before it is too late. Pray for your child that they will come back
to what they know is right. James said, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James
5:16). What else can we do? We can talk with them. Let our children know we are ready to talk and help them
through these problems. We're not going to compromise the truth, but talk in order to get things figured out as
to why this has happened. It is James who also said, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one
convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from
death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).
Though a child made a conscious decision to turn his/her back on his/her parents, the parents still have
responsibilities to fulfill before God. Let us be about them, at the same time striving to win this child back to a
right relationship with God and the parents.