We Must Set the Example

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 King James Version

When I was in Wal-Mart yesterday morning, I saw six teenage girls. They were nice looking girls and they appeared to be good friends. They were laughing about something when all of a sudden, their laughter stopped as I overheard ones of the girls tell her friends "My mom gave me a big lecture last night about the danger of doing drugs for almost three hours but she has been smoking and getting drunk ever since I can remember so why should I listen to her? What right does she have to tell me not to do drugs when she smokes and drinks? Sometimes, I feel like running away and marrying the first boy I see just to get out of my house and away from all the yelling and fighting that my parents do constantly."

I am reminded of my own Mother who used to tell me "Don’t do as I do; do as I say". This impressionable teenage girl was being told not to do something by her mother, yet she sees her mother doing something that she should not do. It’s no wonder at all that our teenagers rebel and won’t listen to us. How dare we, as parents, tell our children not to do things that are not good for them when they see us doing things that are not good for us?

We must set the example for our children by the way that we live our lives. If we want our children to be kind and loving, then they need to see us being kind and loving. If your children hear you say criticizing remarks about your pastor and the way the pastor preaches, your children will not respect your pastor and one day you will hear your children criticizing your pastor.

May God forgive us for not being the example to our children that Jesus has commanded us to be. Jesus has told us and the Bible also makes it very clear that we should "train up a child in the way he should go". How do we train our children? We train them by setting the example for them. If you don’t want your children to smoke, do drugs and drink alcohol, then don’t you do these things. If you don’t want your children to be disrespectful to your spouse, then don’t let them hear you criticize your spouse.

We are living in a society that is filled with violence. Children are living in fear of being injured or killed when they go to school. It is time that America wakes up and becomes involved actively in the welfare and safety of our children. If we would stop spending money on things that we do not need and invest that money in the protection and welfare of our children, there would probably be less teenagers quitting school.

Most of us come in contact with children so we too are responsible for setting a good example. One day, every person who has ever come in contact with children will stand before a Holy God and give an account of the way he or she treated the children and what kind of example he or she set for them. If we see children in the store and they smile at us or say hello, we need to smile back and say hello to them. What kind of example are you setting for your children and for all the other children that you come in contact with?

Remember, Jesus loves children and He is very protective of them. When you hurt a child, it really upsets Him and you hurt Him also. When your children talk about you to their friends, are they bragging on you or are they criticizing you? Jesus tells us how to live but He first set the example Himself. Again, what kind of example are you setting for your children?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe

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