Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

A Child’s Rights

Children have far fewer “rights” than adults in most societies, including our own. They don’t have the right to vote, to buy alcohol, to live on their own, or to drive a car. While children are considered a precious commodity, it is understood by all that it will take time for them to reach a state where they can enjoy, appreciate and profit from independence. In the meantime it is the responsibility of parents to care for, protect and educate them in preparation for the time they will take their place as adults in society.

Much the same is true with regard to the spiritual development of children. Jesus recognized the precious nature of the young, and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). The Holy Spirit directed fathers to, “…not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

I was recently reading a book titled The Christian Home, by P.D. Wilmeth. Much of the book is very dated, with statistics, trends, etc., from the mid 1950’s. There was, however, a short segment on A Child’s Rights, that I thought worthy of a few comments (page 109). The segment begins with the statement:

“Since a child has nothing to say about when and where his is to be born, but comes into this world because of the love of his parents and the love of God, every child has inalienable rights.”

Three of these “inalienable rights” are then mentioned. The comments following each are my own:

  1. Every child deserves to be wanted and loved. Every child has a biological mother and father. If they are living, they have the responsibility to love and care for their child. Paul told Titus that the older ladies should give instructions to the younger ladies, that they might “love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5). The term love used here (philoteknos) has reference to affection or fondness for the child. All know of a mother’s tender affection for her child—unfortunately not every child receives such attention and love from his mother.
    Fathers are likewise admonished to care for their own. Paul wrote Timothy, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). There is no more sacred a duty for a father than to provide sustenance and care for his children. No sacrifice is too great, and no pursuit too humbling in the discharge of this responsibility.
  2. Every child deserves to be born into a Christian home. The scriptures clearly show that the soul of a man is of greater value than any earthly possession (cf. Matthew 16:26). So many parents are quick to supply food, recreation and education for the child, but neglect their spiritual welfare. Children deserve to have parents who are diligent, faithful Christians. By this, they equip the child through example and instruction to take their place as a faithful Christian, pleasing to God. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
  3. Every child deserves a chance to grow as Jesus. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). A child is so dependent upon his parents, and God will hold both father and mother accountable for any dereliction of duty toward their child. The vulnerable are worthy of the “greater honor” (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:22-25).

Parents, please take seriously your responsibility to care for, protect, educate and train your child. Instruct them “when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-9). Be an example to them, that they may see your good works, and glorify God! (cf. Matthew 5:16).