[our children] diligently” (Deuteronomy 6:7), knowing that we “have no greater joy that to hear our children walk in truth” (3 John 3). We have “trained up [our children] in the way
they should go”, relying on the promise that “when they are old they will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6)
Yet this isn’t always what happens. The world overtakes them and they respond, seemingly rejecting all we’ve so carefully given them. We cry, “What did we do wrong?”
The answer simply and usually is,“Nothing.”
Scripture tells us that humans have the ability to make our own choices, and once we reach an age where we understand right from wrong, we are held accountable by God. (Psychologists tell us this is usually in our late teens.) There can also be undiagnosed issues which cause negative behavior.
Nevertheless, when they choose evil, we mourn.
But there’s an additional perspective. God, Himself, had a son who, despite the loving, omnipotent guidance given, rejected God and became God’s enemy. Isaiah 14:12-14. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”
Who has been a better Father than God? Lucifer chose evil. Thus, if we have done all we can, how can we be at fault?
What about the promise that “when he is old, he will not depart from it”? All Scripture must be harmonized with all other Scripture. If this verse is a simple formula, then many other verses would be false, and God Himself, untrue.
John 5:28 and 29 offer a possible clue. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in which all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good to a resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment (correct Greek translation).”
During the 1,000 year Judgment Day, Jeremiah 31:33, 34 will be fulfilled for the whole world of mankind. “…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor,…saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Our children who’ve chosen the wrong path will be resurrected to be given an opportunity to learn and be fairly judged, taking into account their weaknesses, illnesses, contrary circumstances, etc. Will they not then be old? Will they not then be proof of the Lord’s promise?
Even though our hearts may grieve now because our children have made choices contrary to everything they’ve been taught and to every example they’ve been given, our God, Who IS love, loves them even more than we, and will give them every opportunity in the resurrection to correct themselves and to follow Him. Until then, we have the comfort that we have done our all.