Parental Guidance Advised

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In September our ladies Bible class began a study of 2 Timothy, which I expected to complete during the first semester. When we began, I did not imagine studying just four chapters for five months and counting, but I am grateful to have had all this time in 2 Timothy. It has been good for me.

In the letter, the apostle Paul is really concerned about his young co-worker Timothy. The message can be summed up like this: Hang in there, Timothy!

Timothy has a great spiritual resumé and is doing many things right. Timothy is a missionary, he has a sincere faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, and he has worked and traveled with a devout and devoted mentor, the apostle Paul himself.

And, yet, Paul is afraid that Timothy’s life is going to flounder. It’s something that can happen to anyone. Not content to “mind his own business,” Paul writes to Timothy about his concerns, warning him of danger, and encouraging him to keep on keeping on — on the straight and narrow path.

Paul thinks of his young friend and brother in Christ as his “beloved son.” Imagine how much more urgent Paul would have been if Timothy had also been his son in the flesh.

Notice what Paul does not say to Timothy. He doesn’t say, “Pardon me for saying so, but . . .” He doesn’t say, “These are some things I hope you’ll consider . . . .” And, he doesn’t say, “I know this isn’t any of my business, but . . . .”

Paul is kind and gentle, but he doesn’t apologize for warning Timothy of danger, anymore than a fireman says to the person he is about to rescue: “I know this isn’t any of my business, but would it be okay with you if I dragged you out of this burning building?”

Firemen in Smoke Masks, New York City, 1911
Firemen in Smoke Masks, New York City, 1911

I don’t believe in being a meddlesome parent to our adult children — and I don’t do it. However, I do believe that every loving parent of children of any age has the responsibility:

  • To pray for their adult children;
  • To be attentive to how they are doing spiritually, just as Paul was attentive to Timothy; and
  • To teach and warn them in the same careful, loving spirit in which Paul taught and warned Timothy.

Even though I am not meddlesome, I’d rather be accused of being that way than to see anyone in danger and not say, “Watch out!” That is especially true of my very own kids. Every person comes with an invisible warning label that reads: Parental Guidance Advised; and we never outgrow it.

Aren’t we glad that our Father provides that for us!

Now flee from youthful lusts
and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace,
with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:15

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  1. As the mother of a soon to be 23 year old–as well as our 11 year old, I appreciate this encouragement to not stop praying for and guiding spiritually our children–even when they are grown up!