\Today’s reading is Proverbs 23:19-35.
Among the moral teachings against over-indulgence (vv. 19-21, 29-35) and adultery (vv. 26-27), is the encouragement for children to follow the ways of their parents and live a righteous life (vv. 22-25). Verse 24 says, “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” Why is this true?
The main reason is that sorrow follows sin. It doesn’t follow sin immediately; pleasure follows sin immediately. That’s what makes sin so alluring to us--the promise and immediate payoff of pleasure. But there is a hidden price tag to living a sinful life. First of all, the pleasures sin offer diminish over time. This is why people go deeper into sin or sin more regularly. Secondly, sin leaves brokenness and broken relationships behind it. The brokenness sin leaves is guilt. You can ignore your conscience and choose to sin but after you’ve sinned, your conscience will make you feel guilty about it. Sin also breaks relationships because it betrays trusts and puts the sinner ahead of others.
Anyone who been an adult for a decade or two (or more) has seen this. We have seen people chase and embrace the excitement of sin. It might be materialism, fame, immoral sexual relationships, or substance use. Sometimes it is dishonesty or manipulating others or simply living as if God does not exist. These things provide pleasure for a while but they produce a life that is undisciplined, a person that is unreliable and dishonest. They can cause physical problems, emotional damage, wrecked families, and ruined reputations. If a person’s parents live to see their children grow up to be like this, of course they do not rejoice. Parents like this feel sorrow for the consequences their children experience, sorrow for the lives they have damaged, regret about decisions they made when raising their children, and shame for how their family turned out.
If you are a young person and are figuring out what kind of person you will become, you should trust the wisdom of your parents (v. 22) if they walk with God. Above anyone else alive, they want what is best for you. Because they have seen how others have lived and died, they know which choices are life-giving and which ones are destructive. Follow the wisdom of your parents! It will make them happy (vv. 24-25) and it save you from many of the sorrows and problems that sin leaves behind.
Parents, you can’t live your child’s life for him or her. But, while they live with you, you make the rules. Teach your children about wisdom and righteousness. Show them examples of people who sinned and are paying for it. If they do their own thing after they leave your home, that’s sad but don’t enable them to sin while they’re with you.