Parenting

By Jon Bowles

Sheffield, UK

24 August, 2002

(PLAY FROM START)

In the last week or so, our memories have been stimulated in some ways because we've had our grandson stay with us. [laughs] We thought we'd put all that childrearing behind us; and we thought our days of childrearing are finally over, and we can now relax and pass it onto somebody else entirely. It doesn't quite work that way because we had Jacob stay with us overnight. It gives Amber and Dean a break. It's just thirty or forty miles away from us. There's no problem picking him up after services, and he stays up with us overnight; and we take him back on Sunday.

But it is, really, like a second opportunity to do it right. And I thought it would be worthwhile giving a ... Because all of us here are either grandparents or parents, and it would be worthwhile, therefore, in giving a sermon on parental responsibilities (and grandparental responsibilities, to a large degree). Because one thing that Amber, she doesn't attend services or anything like that, and she determined that she wasn't gong to spank Jacob in any way or form. We, of course, respect those wishes; and we don't do the same.

That doesn't mean to say that he's not without punishment; but it is a problem trying to get him to listen, to pay attention. In fact, we came to the end. We'd taken him swimming, and we were going to get some chips; and eventually we had to say, "No chips," which was not what he wanted in any way, shape, or form. But I think he'll (next time we do it, which will be in a week or so) he will remember. And we can say, "Okay, now you remember the chips?" "Yes, we remember the chips" "You remember I said, 'We're going to have chips.' and we didn't have any chips? Now you listen to what I'm about to say." And hopefully, the message will start to sink in.

Part of the reason, as well, for giving this sermon is that society's crumbling, generally. There are many reasons. There's a lack of community within society. We don't tend to know our neighbors the way we used to. There's a breakdown of marriages. You can see it the way the house pricing is going up. The building industry is absolutely flat out, and part of that is the breakdown of marriages. Instead of having one home to be for a couple and a family, they're now having two homes in many cases. There's a mobility within society as well. The extended family isn't there. I mean, even in the case of Amber and Dean, they're still about thirty or forty miles away from us. In the case of Estelle and Andrew, they're a hundred and thirty or forty miles away from us; and that makes it quite difficult. The moral training of the young is very important. It was actually a community issue. It was something within the community. It was within the extended family. And these things are breaking down within our societies.

The other thing, as this society does in fact crumble, they aren't listening to God. You know, as in the case of Jacob (of getting him to listen); and children are not listening to their parents. They are just not. You know, you can see it continually. You can see that. And the Church tends to reflect the society that we find ourself in. So I want to, today, stress the qualities and the responsibilities we need as parents and as grandparents. And in so doing, I want to talk, particularly, about listening -- because there's an awful lot in Scripture about the way God as a Parent treats us, and the way in which He tells us to listen. If we don't listen, there are certain repercussions; and those, really, also mirror themselves within the families. We need children who listen to us. If they don't listen, there are repercussions. We need to keep in mind these things, particularly in today's society.

I've got six points altogether to go through:

So those are the points I want to go through. As I said, we need to be aware -- just as God tells us to listen, it's vital that as we train our children that they also learn to listen. That is, it's the crucial part. If we can't get them to listen to us, we can't train. It's impossible. And so there are techniques that God has given us, which we can use to get them to listen; and we do need to do that.

THE PURPOSE OF CHILDREARING IS TO LET THEM GO (PLAY FROM 7:22)

So this first point: the purpose of childrearing is to let them go. Turn over to Proverbs.

Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father.

Now again, remember we mentioned listening. That is important. And here it does say:

Proverbs 1:8-9 My son, hear the instruction of your father [listen to what I've got to tell you],and forsake not the law of your mother: (9) For they will be an ornament of grace unto your head, and chains about your neck.

In other words, it's not a case of you just listen for that particular time. An ornament around your neck is going to stay there, and it will stay there once you finally get away. That training will teach you, and will continue to teach us; and it's the same with our children. Even though our children are very, very young now, it's when they get older that they will, in fact, remember the things that are being taught. The purpose of childrearing is eventually to let them go. Turn over a page to chapter 4.

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, you children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Again, if they don't hear, if they do not listen, you can't teach. It is absolutely essential that they listen.

Proverbs 4:2-4 For I give you good doctrine [good teaching], forsake you not my law. (3) For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. (4) He taught me also, and said unto me, Let your heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

So it's not just a case of having them be obedient. It's a case of keeping the Commandments, keeping the teaching; and it says, "let your heart retain my words." In other words, in the deepest being, those words and the training are to be remaining. It's not just a case of getting kids 'out of our hair' that is necessary. Training children is so that the child can take the training that you're giving it, 20 years down the line; and it's of benefit to them. That's what we're looking for. That is the aim.

Proverbs 4:5-13 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. (6) Forsake her not, and she will preserve you: love her, and she will keep you. (7) Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding. (8) Exalt her, and she will promote you: she will bring you to honor, when you do embrace her. (9) She will give to your head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory will she deliver to you. (10) Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of your life will be many. (11) I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. (12) When you go, your steps will not be straitened; and when you run, you will not stumble. (13) Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is your life.

And again, when you have a hedge, or when you've laid a hedge, if you've got a hedge and you actually try to train a hedge ... Or supposing you have a fruit tree and you take these stumps out of the thing there and you go and you put your fruit tree there and you train this fruit tree. If you let the fruit tree get twenty foot tall and then you try and train it, it will break. You can't do it. But as it's growing, if you just bend it and you peg it and bend it, it will stay in that place. So that twenty-years time, you'll have it trained all the way down the hedge. That's the way you train fruit trees. That's the way you train when you're laying a hedge. If you've got a huge hedge which is grown up, and you try and chop one side and lay it over, chances are it will break. But if you do it when they're very young and the twig goes over, it will actually stay. It will go in that direction.

So we're looking for the direction. We're looking for, how do you feel this child that's 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 or whatever, what's going to help this child in later life? Not what's going to get that child 'out of my hair' for the next 5 minutes? That's the toss up. But as parents, and as grandparents, we've got to keep that in mind; and it's so difficult. In fact, some days it's impossible; because you want the kids 'out of your hair'. But training children involves long-tem thinking. It involves trying to look down the line and say, "Okay, I know I want them 'out of my hair'; but what's best for this child 20 years down the line? Is it that there's a relationship between me and that child, therefore we'll go out and play football (or whatever we need to do)?

I remember we had a dog one time, and I was desperate to get this dog trained to go ahead and look after the cows. But it was too young, far too young. So I introduced it to the cows, absolutely terrified; and it remained terrified of cows for the rest of its life. [laughs] Total dead loss. Absolutely useless. So you've got to do things in stages. You've got to do it according to when the child, or [laughs] dog for that matter, is ready for it. It does take an enormous amount of wisdom. Enormous wisdom. Notice over in chapter 6 of Proverbs:

Proverbs 6:20-23 My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not the law of your mother: (21) Bind them continually upon your heart, and tie them about your neck. (22) When you go, it will lead you; when you sleep, it will keep you; and when you awake, it will talk with you. (23) For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

So it's a way of life that you're trying to get a child to go along -- that it will stay in for eternity, quite frankly. And it's not to get that child 'out of our hair'; or to get it to behave; or to get it to sit down; get it to be a certain way for that specific time. Now that's important. But it's not as important as training that child to eventually let it go; so that, when that child is away from us, that child will go that way. That's what we're looking for, and that's the goal.

GOD IS ALSO TRAINING US THROUGH PARENTING (PLAY FROM 14:38)

Now, within that, we're going on to the second point: that we as parents and grandparents also need to grow up. Go over to Matthew 5. Part of child training is not to train just the children, it's to train us. And you look back on the job that you did as parents; and you kind of cringe, quite frankly. But then, this has got to be kept in mind that part of the training is for us as parents. Now God is a perfect parent.

Matthew 5:45-48 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same? (47) And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so? (48) [So, our Parent is a perfect parent; and it says] Be you therefore perfect, [or mature, or ripe like a fruit ready to be picked] even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

So we need to be listening to what God is telling us so that we can, therefore, be the kind of parents that we need to be (and grandparents as well). I certainly don't exclude us at all. Look over in Philippians 3:

Philippians 3:12-16 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: [same word being used -- already mature, already ripe. We're not. All of us are in the process of becoming perfect. It says "become perfect" -- be you perfect, or become perfect]but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press [or I strive]toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (15) Let us therefore, as many as be [mature] perfect, [same thing. It says become perfect or be perfect as your Father is.] be thus minded: [and thus minded is that we are striving toward that. So, in our parenting, we are striving, we are learning ourselves as we overcome things and realize we're going to make some mistakes. We're going to have to go to God in repentance, quite frankly, about the way we parent; because we will make mistakes. But we should not leave it at that.]and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God will reveal even this unto you. (16) Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

So we need to make sure that we are all walking towards that goal, towards that goal of being perfect -- of being the perfect parent as God is the perfect Parent. Now you say, "Well, humanly it's impossible." Okay. But part of parenting is that we learn as parents. It's not just training our children. It's that God is training us through it, and we need to make sure that we understand that. I'm not the same person I was 15 years ago. I mean, you aren't. Look back 15 years. What were you like 15 years ago? You know, all of us are different. I'm not the same parent that I was 15 years ago. I would hope that I've improved and become a bit more patient, at least, than I used to be.

Over in Psalms 37, this particular Psalm, it talks about stability, about this quiet assurance of doing what's right. We need an environment where children can flourish. And okay, this really impinges on our example in many ways; but this is the stability that our children need.

Psalms 37:1-11 (A Psalm of David.) Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious against the workers of iniquity. (2) For they will soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. (3) Trust in the [ETERNAL] , and do good; so will you dwell in the land, and verily you will be fed. (4) Delight yourself also in the [ETERNAL]; and he will give you the desires of your heart. (5) Commit your way unto the [ETERNAL]; trust also in him; and he will bring it to pass. (6) And he will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. (7) Rest in the [ETERNAL], and wait patiently for him: fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. (8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil. (9) For evildoers will be cut off: but those that wait upon the [ETERNAL], they will inherit the earth. (10) For yet a little while, and the wicked will not be: yea, you will diligently consider his place, and it will not be. (11) But the meek [the teachable] will inherit the earth; and will delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Now, if we apply that to our parenting; and we realize that the teachable, the meek, are going to inherit the Earth, and part of our training is being parents. A large part of our training is ourselves being parents and grandparents. It's not just training our children. It's training us. And we need to understand that the teachable -- so that we do become perfect (We haven't attained it all at once.) -- that if we've made mistakes parenting, as grandparents we correct those mistakes. If you made mistakes parenting, as older parents you correct those mistakes. And it is a continual learning process that we're involved in.

I know that on the television, a few months ago now, there was an example. I think it was the television? It was. There was an example of two brothers. One was a drug addict, and he was absolutely adamant the reason why he was a drug addict and he was totally useless was that he had such a bad environment; and he blamed everything on his environment. The other brother was a businessman. I don't know if he was a millionaire? I think he was, actually. I think he was a millionaire. He had exactly the same environment, and yet you've got these two extremes. It was a different approach to the same thing. He was determined to raise himself up out of the gutter. The mental approach of one contrasted with the mental approach of the other, gave two entirely different results.

We don't need to become millionaires or whatever; but, in our parenting, we need to understand that we, ourselves, need to grow up -- that we need to change, that we don't have to follow our own parents. If we see errors in our own parenting (All of us can [laughs], there are no perfect parents.), we can determine to break the mold. We don't have to go and repeat the same mistakes. If we've seen mistakes in our own grandparenting, we don't have to go ahead and repeat the same mistakes. Turn over to I Corinthians 12.

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:1 But [desire] earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way. (13:1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not [a way of give in regard to our children -- again, apply this now to our parenting and the way in which we train our children and our grandchildren], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

So, in other words, I can speak all the words I want; but if I don't have the basic approach, if that approach is not right (It's an outgoing approach, trying to encourage that child and trying to train that child for what that child is going to need in the future.), I'm wasting my time.

1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not [that way of give, and we can apply it specifically in our parenting], I am nothing.

So I can be the world's best whatever -- architect, IT technician, whatever we happen to be. If we don't have that way of give in our parenting -- because that is one area that we have that we, ourselves, need to be growing up in (or our grandparenting). I can be the world's most wonderful minister, or whatever; and yet, if I don't get it right as far as the grandparenting is concerned, it's a waste of time.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not [this way of give], it profits me nothing.(4) [This way of give]suffers long, and is kind; [So, as a parent with the mind of God, is longsuffering. They are kind. (Grandparents as well.) This way of give.], envies not [Doesn't look at "Why, are my kid's not like so-and-so's." or whatever -- this way of give.], vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own [Doesn't try and get the kids to just shut up and be quiet, and all the rest of it, at the expense of helping the child and training the child.], is not easily provoked [And that's something (laughs), believe me.], thinks no evil [and it's so difficult]; (6) Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (7) Bears all things, believeth all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

So, I know that somebody told me ... Some of these notes I actually had initially about 10 years ago in Llanelli, and it's just interesting. I asked about the perfect parent. "What's the perfect parent," I asked these kids in the Y.O.U. -- one of which is sitting here. And one of them said to me, "Somebody who is there when you want them there." Do you remember that? No? [Laughs] Well, that was actually you. That was your reply. Things come back to haunt you. The reply that I got was, "Somebody who is there when you want them there." Amber said, "Somebody who is there when you don't want them there." [laughs] in the way Amber would. But it was interesting reading these now, 10 years on, when here we have "the Y.O.U." who are now parents.

BEING A PARENT REQUIRES SACRIFICE (PLAY FROM 27:24)

Okay, let's go into the next section; and that is that sacrifice is required. We do live in a very self-absorbed society. I mean, if you just look at this last issue that occurred where these two girls were murdered, and people had written on the flowers and said "Why?" We were talking, and the answer to it is all around us. The society as a whole is self-absorbed. It does not want ... It does not think for other people. It is entirely self-absorbed.

Romans 5:6-10 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commends his love [His way of give] toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.

And that life is the same kind of life. It is a sacrificial life. It is always outgoing. As far as our kids are concerned, we should always love our children; but we should not necessarily always like them because, quite frankly, sometimes they can be little horrors. But we should always love them. We should always have their best interest at heart. And for us to really have that, for us to really have that (children and grandparents), it's going to take more than pure human love.

I remember, again, there's an example that a woman that Judy was working with at one time. She'd dropped the child off in a crèche [nursery, or day care center], and I think the child was ill; and [she] wanted to make sure and basically drop the child off so that she could go to work. And at work, [she] was going through the catalogs trying to get a new car. It was twisted. Her husband was Sergeant of the police force; and, I think, progressing pretty steadily through the police force. So they weren't without a decent job, but they wanted more.

Children so often today are the cherry on top of their lives instead of the way it used to be years ago, which was the reason for life. The reason for life years ago was so that the children would then carry on. That was the way it used to be. Therefore the children were very important. But unfortunately, today, that's not the case. Notice over in I John. Now, I'll read it slightly differently. This, I think, should apply. I know it's not strictly what it says, but let's just read it this way.

1 John 4:12-16 No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another [if we love our children, let's put our children in there, if we love our children], God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. (13) Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. (14) And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the [Rescuer] of the world. (15) Whosoever will [have the same word, the same approach] that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God. (16) And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hates his [children], he is a liar: for he that loves not his [children] whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loves God love his [children] also.

Now, I know I'm putting "children" instead of "brother;" but you know that is true. That is still true. Today we live in a society where it talks about "without natural affection." In II Timothy {1} it talks about that. If we turn back to Titus 2 ...

Titus 2:1-4 But speak you the things which become sound [teaching]: (2) That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (3) The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things [So, this is something that the older women need to do.]; (4) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Now, that does take teaching. It's not necessarily natural for us to love our children all the time. It's not going to be the case. Sacrifice is required. In today's society, we're going to find that repeatedly. And it goes on:

Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Now, that is necessary. Listening is a sacrifice. To stop what we're doing (whether we're a grandparent, or a parent, or whatever) and to listen to our children, it is a sacrifice. Helping children with homework is a sacrifice. And it's things that we don't naturally do. You talk about a perfect parent, when I asked that question in Y.O.U., Robin said, "Somebody who helps you along and doesn't spend all his time in front of his computer." I can't imagine who he was talking about. But it's true. It does take sacrifice. And, as I say, the job of parenting is not just to teach children. It's to teach us as parents, so that we ourselves are being trained by God in a parenting situation.

IF WE DON'T TRAIN OUR CHILDREN, SATAN WILL! (PLAY FROM 35:14)

Now the fourth point I want to deal with is that, if we do not train our children, Satan will. If we'll turn over to Proverbs 1, and I think that this aspect is something that is going to increase. We don't know exactly when Satan will be cast down to the Earth, because it does say, "Woe unto you upon the Earth, the devil's come down to you having great wrath, knowing he's got a short time." {2} We don't know when that's going to be. But I would imagine that the actual job of parenting is going to become that much more difficult, because what we need to do (and I'll come on to that in a little while) is to teach our children how to handle Satan. That is part. That is one of the major jobs.

This was part of that article that I was looking for, which was actually at the end of the publication that comes out from Modesto. News Letter, is it? News Letter. It's got an article by Mr. Armstrong that says the major thing that we have to do is to train our children how to handle the attitudes, and so on, that come from Satan.

Proverbs 1:8-19 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother: (9) For they will be an ornament of grace unto your head, and chains about your neck. [It then goes on it says] (10) My son, if sinners entice you, consent you not. (11) If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: (12) Let us swallow them up alive [Now, obviously, it's talking to older children here. Teenagers, it's talking to.] as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: (13) We will find all precious substance, we will fill our houses with spoil: (14) Cast in your lot among us; let us all have one purse: (15) My son, walk not you in the way with them; refrain your foot from their path: (16) For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. (17) Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. (18) And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. (19) So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which takes away the life of the owners thereof.

And that last verse really describes the world in which we live. The people are greedy of gain and will trample on people to get what they want. There are only two ways of life. It says, "I've set before you life and death, blessing and cursing {3} -- these two ways of life. There are other areas as well. It's not just a case of people enticing them in regard to chapter one.

Proverbs 7:1-3 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with you. (2) Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of your eye. (3) Bind them upon your fingers, write them upon the table of your heart.

Proverbs 7:5-8 That they may keep you from the strange woman, from the stranger which flatters with her words. (6) For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, (7) And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, (8) Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house.

That's part of what we are, in fact, protecting our children from. That's part of the training that we need to give our children. It's so difficult. Now, you've got children that are very young. But it will be in a relatively short space of time that you will need to deal with this kind of problem.

Proverbs 7:21-22 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. (22) He goes after her straightway, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks.

And these things need to be discussed. They need to be brought out within the household. Turn over to Ephesians 2. We need to be aware of this, and we need to make sure that our children also are aware of it. Now I know that, when it talks about "the children of disobedience" here, it's talking about human beings generally.

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:

Now, that spirit actually works in our "children [laughs] of disobedience" as well. Now, I know that it's talking spiritually. It's quite clear that is what it's talking about. But Mr. Armstrong did bring out the fact that the way in which Satan operates, his attitudes of mind that come through the air; and our children are going to listen to either one way or another way. Now, who are they listening to? Are they going to listen to us? If we do not get the attention of our children, if we allow the children to go their own way without listening, then they will listen to that other spirit. There's absolutely no question of that, and we must be aware of that. They are either going to listen to us, and hopefully we will be training them God's way; or they will listen to Satan.

There's no other way. Those are the only two courses. There's either God's way or there's Satan's way. And we are told to train them and instruct them in the ways of God. So there are those two ways of life. They're either going to be listening to us, and we really do need to make sure that we do get their attention -- that if we tell them something, and they go off and do their own thing (whatever they want to do) -- then something needs to be done to bring them back. And again, it's a long-term view. It's not just something that we need to do in the spur of the moment to make them behave, make them shut up, make them sit down, make them be quiet. That is short sighted! We need to try and have a longer-term, a longer view of the situation -- understanding that we're not going to do it perfectly, that we ourselves are also learning as well. But Satan will get through, unquestionably.

If you will, turn back to I Corinthians 7. This something we didn't use to understand. When I first came into contact with the Church, this was not understood. It is something that Mr. Armstrong came to understand as he went further down through his life.

1 Corinthians 7:11-14 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. [That is, "to the married." Notice in verse 10. {4}] (12) But to the rest [So it's talking first of all "to the unmarried," he says; and then "to the married," he says. But in verse 12 it says, "to the rest." Now, these are people that are married to unconverted mates. It's the only other "rest" that there could be.] speak I, not the Lord: If any brother has a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. (13) And the woman which has an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. (14) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified [is set apart, has protection from God] by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

They are set apart. Now just the fact that one of the parents is within the Church, the children are holy. They are set apart. They have the ability to understand things that most of this world does not understand. If I can read something that Mr. Armstrong wrote:

"In I Corinthians 7:8-9, Paul addresses the unmarried and widows, in verses 10 -11, he addresses the married. In verses 12-16 he addresses "the rest." Who can that be? The context explains and it is GREAT NEWS! Children of even one converted parent may be taught by that parent to offset Satan's reaching them through the human spirit within them. This also places a responsibility on God's Church and all parents in the Church to work with our children from babyhood to adult. It's a wonderful truth and the Y.E.S. program is going to help in this regard."

That was in 1979 that that was written. Another one:

"Jesus said plainly and emphatically [This is in 1979.] "No man can come to me unless the Father draws him." And no man can except for those specially called for special duty. All humanity has been cut off from God. God has not, as yet, been trying to get the world saved but the children of those called are set apart in a separate category. This is BIG NEWS not heretofore being taught in God's Church."

This is '79, these things.

"Notice verse 14 again. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified, put in a special category, not necessarily called, but not cut off. Free to come to Christ if he wishes, else were your children unclean; that is cut off from God like other children are. But now are they holy. Or, in other words, the children of a believing parent are set apart in the sense that they are not cut off from God as are other children. It does not mean they are converted, just that they are not cut off from God. The believing parent can still, then, teach them; and when they are mature, hopefully, they may be converted."

These are quotes from Mr. Armstrong; and it's quite clear that the way, in fact, that he read that verse was that our children are in a special category. They can be trained to resist Satan, and that is one of the main areas that we need to train them. We need to make sure that we help those kids to resist the pressure on them, the pressure from the spirit of this world. And the spirit of this world, Satan, does not deal with specifics. It's more attitudes.

I know I used to hear Mr. Armstrong talk about the importance to train our children, to make sure that we train them in attitudes and how to handle attitudes of mind. I never really understood it. I just did not understand it. It was a case of the kids have got to 'get out of our hair'. They're going to behave themselves. They're going to do as they're told. And Estelle can vouch for that. [laughs] But, that's not the way to train kids. It's not the way kids should be trained. It's the case that you should help the children to cope with the pressures they are having. It's a case of getting our mind off our self.

If you go over to James 4. Now I know that this is talking about wars and fightings, in verse one. That can be within families. Where do these things come from? How do we have fights within families, between kids? They lust. They desire. They have not. They kill; and they desire to have, and can't obtain. And they fight and war "because you don't ask." You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss. In other words, the entire approach is wrong. The answer is over in verse 6.

James 4:6-7 But he gives more grace [more unmerited favor]. Wherefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We need to train our children to deal with Satan and his attitudes. And there is something to be said for actually telling Satan to go. There really is. I mean, if you're dealing with somebody who has a demon problem or whatever, as a minister that is the way that you tell them to deal with the problem. You tell Satan to get out! "LEAVE ME ALONE!" If somebody is dealing with somebody that has a demon problem, you look them square in the eye; and you say, "You leave me alone!" -- because you're not talking to the person, you're talking to the demon. Or you can go back and you can read Mark 1:27 {5} or Luke 9:42 {6}, where Christ dealt with unclean sprits and He rebuked them. He spoke directly to them.

We should train our kids to make sure that, if they get these kinds of attitudes or thoughts or whatever, it is from a spiritual source; and we can train our children to say, "Leave me alone! Go Away!" And they've got to leave. And let the children know and understand that attitude, that way, must leave because that's where it's coming from. It is actually coming from a satanic source. He is the prince of the power of the air. So, this is something that we neglect at our peril. If we don't train our children, Satan will train them.

OUR EXAMPLE IS VITAL (PLAY FROM 50:50)

Now this next point, point number five I've got, which is the example is vital. It also fits as well. If our example is not, if they're not seeing us (we're away so much, or we don't have anything to do with our kids), Satan will use examples to train our kids. He will. If we push them off to school, and they spend time after school in clubs or whatever; and they get home and just have a bite to eat in front of the television, and go straight to bed; and they never spend any time with the parents -- they will be trained, and the example they will be looking at will be examples which are wrong. Now, Hebrews 12:

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses [examples],let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Now we have an example that we can look to as I brought out in the Sabbath sermon -- Christ's example of keeping the Sabbath. We can look at the example that we've been given from Christ, and Christ was ... In John 14:9 {7} it says "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father." It doesn't mean to say They are one and the same. It means that God in the flesh was Christ. When we're looking at examples, turn over to Titus. Now we just read in the beginning of Titus 2 where we were instructed that the older women teach the younger women.

Titus 2:6-8 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded [or discreet, sound-minded].(7) In all things showing yourself a pattern [Now he's talking to Titus, who is a minister.]of good works: in [teaching]showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (8) sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary [opinion]may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

So, we're looking at an example, and the example is essential. Within childhood -- if in fact we, as parents, have a bad example -- that will actually teach more than will any words that we have. As I say, it's not going to be perfect; but we've got to have the right example. You cannot be saying one thing and be doing another. The "light" and the "salt" of the world doesn't stop when we come home. When we come home, when we come through the door, the "light" and the "salt" has got to be there. We've got to reflect The Way. Our life has got to reflect God's Spirit.

Now when we are looking at the minds of our children, and when we are looking at the examples that Satan can use to train them, TV is an absolute killer. We need to be aware of what is on the television. To plunk kids down in front of the television is asking for trouble. I'm not saying you can't watch it at all. I'm saying you do need to be careful about what is being watched.

The friends that our children have are absolutely vital. They need to be vetted. Be careful when they go across to friends' houses because, what are they watching? What videos do they watch? It's very difficult. Books being read also, you know? If we do not set the example ourselves, the children will find examples to look at themselves; and Satan has plenty of them. It is a very, very difficult job to train our children within this society.

I was watching a Michael Jackson interview. Michael Jackson is incredibly effeminate; he just is. But apparently, his father was a tyrant. His father was a real bully. And he's just completely different, and that seems to be the result. So the example, sometimes it can make the child go the same as the example or to the other extreme, which is way beyond anything which should be there. The James Bulger murders, the two boys that were arrested came apparently from broken homes. They are actually in prison because of it; but the videos they were watching, apparently, were violent. They were, you know, "Chainsaw Massacre" type stuff.

It's interesting, if you'll turn over to Proverbs 31, it's not just the father's example. The father's example is absolutely paramount, but the mother's example as well is necessary.

Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.

Proverbs 31:28-31 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. (29) Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all. (30) Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the [ETERNAL], she will be praised. (31) Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Let her own works praise her in the gates. So we do need to be sure that as we teach our children. The main area of teaching, which is the example that we set -- that it's not a case that your action speaks so loud that they can't hear what you say (because that is very easily, easily done).

TEACHING REQUIRES DILIGENCE AND DISCIPLINE (PLAY FROM 58:02)

Finally! Final point: teaching and discipline. Notice over in Deuteronomy 5.

Deuteronomy 5:1 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, [LISTEN], O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that you may learn them, and keep, and do them.

If we cannot get our children to listen to us, we cannot teach them. It is absolutely impossible. So the rule in our house was that if I could speak and they would listen, that's fine. If I could not get any attention, then they go over my knee. That was the way we handled it. I wasn't perfect, and I know that. But that is, that is Biblically correct.

Deuteronomy 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

Deuteronomy 6:1-7 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the [ETERNAL] your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land whither you go to possess it: (2) That you might fear the LORD your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son, and your son's son [So it's grandparents as well. It's not just parents.]all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged. (3) [LISTEN] therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with you, and that you may increase mightily, as the [ETERNAL] God of your fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey. (4) [LISTEN], O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: (5) And you will love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (6) And these words, which I command you [in other words, that you are listening to] this day, will be in your heart: (7) And you will teach them diligently unto your children, and will talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Just the same way as God tells us to listen when He speaks, so we have got to make certain that our children listen when we speak. When we speak, when we are instructing, we need to make sure that the instruction is for their long-term good. It's looking down through until they're twenty, if necessary. But it's also a case that when we do that and when we need to have their attention, that we make them listen to us. It's absolutely crucial. If we cannot get our kids to listen to us, we've totally lost the battle; because Satan will talk, and we will lose. And if we notice, turn over to I Corinthians 15.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Now that sounds so religious, and so sanctimonious, and all the rest of it; but apply that into parenting and child-training. You know, be steadfast, unmovable, in the way we teach, in the way we discipline, always abounding in the work of the Lord. In other words, having the same kind of mindset. For, as much as you know, this labor (this work we're engaged in) is not in vain. It's realistic. It is necessary. Eventually, our children are going to be in the very Family of God. That's what we're looking for. We need to set fair rules in the household. We need to discuss them. You know, husband and wife needs to discuss the rules. They need to be adapted, clear, biblically-based rules. They don't have to be all supercilious or whatever.

I've got a quote here from the autobiography, and he was talking about some accusations that were coming. Mr. Armstrong refers back to these accusations he had to put up with in the early years of the Church.

"They plan to discredit you," explained Mr. Helms, "by charging that your wife is not a neat housekeeper -- and then turning to the biblical qualifications for an elder, for ruling well his own household. Since they will claim that you are not ruling your wife sternly enough to be a better housekeeper, they will claim that you are not scripturally fit to be a minister, and must be put out of the ministry." [Now that was their kind of tactic]

This came as a shocking surprise! Their accusation was false. My wife was a good housekeeper, and I did rule my own family and household, and have my children in subjection. But these men knew that most members did not know all about our private family life, and would believe their lie.

I accepted the offer. You may be sure I prayed a great deal over it. Actually, Mrs. Armstrong has always been a very clean housekeeper, and a very neat one, with the exception that, during the years when we had four growing children in the house -- and at this time the youngest was 3, and the eldest 15 -- children did leave a few things misplaced, on occasion, of course. But the charge Mr. Oberg planned to make was simply an outrageous LIE!

I mean, [with] kids, you're never going to have a completely perfect, perfect house. You're going to have toys around the place.

Sam Oberg made a fetish of stern neatness, punctuality, and certain outward mannerisms designed to lead others to think him righteous. Actually, although he was unreasonably stern with his little 3-year-old daughter, he knew about as little of proper child rearing as anyone I ever knew. He went to the extreme on stern demands for certain mannerisms of decorum, and punished his child with over-severity, while at the same time he completely neglected her in most other ways, failed to properly teach and train her, and allowed her to do other things that should not have been done. {8}

Now, that is the problem; and it's easy to do that. If we're not careful, we can in fact [err] on training and discipline -- it's outward mannerisms, it's outward appearances -- because then our children will look good to the outside world. We've got to be careful of that. Not to say that they shouldn't be neat, that they shouldn't be tidy, they shouldn't be trained to put away their things; but why are we doing that? We're doing it for their benefit so that their desk doesn't look like mine [laughs] - as it does sometimes when it finally disintegrates. That they know how to have a place for everything, so that they don't necessarily struggle the way we do. So it is trying to encourage the children and trying to guide them and direct them so that, in the future, their life might be that much better.

Notice over in Hebrews 12. (Just a couple of scriptures now.) We'd read about Christ being an example to us in verse 2.

Hebrews 12:3-13 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. (4) You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (5) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loves he chastens, [He spanks. He chastens. He corrects.]and scourges [or spanks]every son whom he receives. (7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father [disciplines] not? (8) But if you be without [discipline], whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. (9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (10) For they verily for a few days [corrected] us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit [So if we're going to do it the way God did it, then we correct for the profit, for the value, for the children.],that we might be partakers of his holiness [so that they may grow up with the right character and approach in their life]. (11)Now no chastening [no correction] for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous [So it's obviously talking about spanking.]: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (12) Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; (13) And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way [or dislocated]; but let it rather be healed.

So, we live in a corrupt society -- in a society that doesn't spank children, but in a society that does abuse them. Neither is right. The abuse of children is absolutely downright wrong. Physical abuse as well. You know, hitting them around the head and that kind of thing. Absolutely wrong! But not spanking is also wrong. It is clearly biblical, and that is the case. And if we look at the way in which God spanks, Leviticus 26, we can start to understand. Remember I said the reason why I had this rule in our house, if I could teach them, if I could talk to the children, I would talk; but if I couldn't talk and they would listen, then I would spank.

Leviticus 26:18 And if you will not yet for all this [listen]unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

He was wanting them to listen; and, if they didn't listen, then He'd punish. That's the way God did it.

Leviticus 26:21 And if you walk contrary unto me, and will not [listen] unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.

In other words, it'll increase; and the punishment will increase.

Leviticus 26:27-28 And if you will not for all this [listen] unto me, but walk contrary unto me; (28) Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

But what it is, is listening. On the case of stern discipline, it's not a case of trying to get them to shut up and sit down and all the rest of it. And, if anything, that probably where I went wrong. It was a case of having the children behave the way I wanted them to behave, because it reflected on me. That is a problem with us as parents. But you know, the attitude of mind -- if a child is listening, if a child is trying but failing, is struggling; then there isn't a need for spanking. There just isn't. Why spank? There is a need, perhaps, for correction. But we've got to be a loving parent. We've got to try and help and assist our child, our children, to cope with life -- to be able to fight through this spiritual soup that we're in that is satanic, to handle that.

To encourage them to, you know, if something goes wrong and he stomps off in a huff, that child needs help to be able to handle that stomping off, because that's not the way that we should be behaving. And it's not a case of correcting the child for stomping off. It's assisting that child to handle the problem that he or she is facing. Now, if the child will not listen to us, then is the time to correct and spank. But, if the child is listening to us, then it's a case of encouraging it and helping that child to overcome the problem that he has; and it's an attitude problem.

If you have a child that is devious and sly, then it's necessary to watch for that attitude. My experience is that it tends to be the ones that come along afterwards. Not the first one, normally; but the second one or third one will tend to be more devious. The second one tends to look at what's happening and work out, "Now hang on a minute, if I'm just a little bit canny, I can get the first one to get all the rap. And I will be able to escape it."

If we turn over to Isaiah, final scripture:

Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains will depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither will the covenant of my peace be removed, says the [ETERNAL] that has mercy on you.

Now, remember, we just read how God specifically said that He would spank and He would spank 7 times more for their sins if they didn't listen. But He says,

Isaiah 54:10-13 For [the]kindness will [never]depart from you, neither will the covenant of my peace be removed, says the LORD that has mercy on you. (11) O you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with fair colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires. (12) And I will make your windows of agates, and your gates of carbuncles, and all your borders of pleasant stones. (13) And all your children shall be taught of the LORD; and great will be the peace of your children.

Great shall be the peace of your children. And that's really what we're looking for. We're looking for God being in us as parents, learning to be more like God ourselves, learning to handle things the way God does ourselves, teaching our children in the same way -- so that our children: Great will be the peace of our children, because they are being helped in the right way. We're not going to do it perfectly, and we are going to make our mistakes; but those are some pointers, anyway, in a continuing process in parental instruction and parental character.


{1} II Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

{2} Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he hath but a short time.

{3} Deut 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

{4} 1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

{5} Mark 1:25-27 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. (26) And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. (27) And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

{6} Luke 9:42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.

{7} John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?

{8} Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 1 Chapter 28