Observing Families That have Raised Godly Kids

So I think it’s actually really important that you guys have in your life families that you know who have raised multiple godly children, and you look at their life and you’re like, “Wow, I’d like to learn more about that.” And one of the reasons that I think it’s important for you guys to notice families that are upstream from you, and that are really experiencing the fruit of their years of parenting, is because of something that Jesus said. He said, in the Gospels, when he was talking about John the Baptist, his disciples were talking to him, he said, “John the Baptist came neither eating, drinking wine, or eating bread. And you said he is a demon. The son of man came eating and drinking and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard; a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'” He said this to the Pharisees.

But he says, “But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” It’s a really interesting proverb; probably a popular proverb of that day. “Wisdom is proved right by all her children.” What this proverb means, you guys, is that there’s a lot of people with theories, and a lot of people who claim to have wisdom. And what first century wisdom, or ancient wisdom, said, is that the way that you know if something is truly wise is you wait until the children grow up, and then the wisdom is proved right by all of her children. You see what is reproduced, or what the fruit is; the ultimate fruit of the theories.

We live in a day and age where there are all kinds of theories. I think it was Rousseau who was famous for… He crafted a lot of the ideas that undergirded the French Revolution, and he was also famous for being one of the worst fathers in human history. He refused to father his children; the wisdom was not there. And so I don’t have a lot of interest in his philosophy, because it wasn’t proved right by all of his children. Now, one of the things that I find really interesting about this is the phrase, “All.” A lot of people listening to this say, “Well, I’ve seen really rough families, and an amazing kid come out of that family. And then I saw some amazingly godly families, and there have been some kids who just really fall off the deep end. So how is this true?” There’s a lot of tension, I think, in this. It’s not meant to judge any particular family; it’s really meant to say that there are ways in which you can design your family, ways in which you can parent, that will really bless some of your kids, but not all of your kids.

So one of the things you want to do, if you really pay attention to the wisdom of this proverb, is you want to pay attention, especially, to the kids that are struggling the most. What you’re doing may be wise in the way in which it’s really influencing or impacting some of your kids, but it may not be wise for all of your kids, so that’s something that I think is just important to watch out for. It’s really important to really look at the kids who are struggling the most in your family, and then to gain the most wisdom from your parenting struggles with that child.

That’s where you’re going to grow the most, that’s where you’re going to discover the things that are lacking in your character, that’s where you’re going to discover things about your theories that are breaking down. Instead of ignoring the most struggling kid and say, “Well, they’re the exception, and my other couple of kids, or whatever, are doing great,” pay really close attention to the ones who are struggling the most. Figure out, “Is there something about our lifestyle, something about what I’m teaching, something about the way I’m modeling…” And again, you guys, I’m not saying there’s no exception to this. I’m just saying this is a very general principle that I think is really wise, and something that Jesus was promoting, and was quoting, and was really describing as something that’s generally true. It’s a proverb; “Wisdom is really proved right by all of our children.” Jeff, what are your thoughts on that?

I wouldn’t add much to that, actually, except just one little point agreeing with you on that exception to the rule thing. People get really sensitive because it’s our own children, and own people and families, but we’re not saying that your children have to turn out perfect, or whatever, to be a witness. We’re just saying there’s patterns. Patterns are true, patterns are real, and there’s a ton of exceptions to patterns. We’re in a real war, and you can be the best parent ever and your kid can go off the deep end and be a prodigal. There’s so many truths, but just look for patterns, because patterns speak, and then you can trace those back to particular truths and teaching that then we can learn from. That’s all I’d say.

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