Teaching, Truth, and Humility

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On a recent Sunday, our minister gave a lesson about what Proverbs teaches parents to teach their children.

Library of Congress Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Proverbs 4:7 KJV, as illustrated in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Photo courtesy Library of Congress Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.

However, he also encouraged all Christian adults in the assembly to teach these things to all of the children who are under their influence. He is right that Christian adults need to influence the children in their sphere of influence.

I would take that encouragement a step further. Now, hold on to your seats. I’m about to say something radical here. Are you ready? Here it is:

I would encourage all Christian adults to teach adults who are under their influence, too, particularly their own adult children. In Titus 2, Paul tells Timothy what to tell older women to teach younger women. Surely, if we older women are responsible for teaching younger women, those younger women we are to teach include our own daughters. If mamas continue to have responsibility to teach their daughters, certainly parents — both mothers and fathers — have a responsibility to continue to teach both their sons and daughters.

This teaching of adults, including our adult children, must be done with gentleness, with grace, and with humility; and we must treat our adult children as adults and not as children. We must pray for wisdom and opportunities. And, we must make sure we are teaching essential things that are really needed — and not simply bellyaching about things that are our personal preferences.

However, teach we must. We honk the horn at someone on the road who is about to be in trouble. We shout, “Watch out!” to someone who is about to step out in front of a car. We need to warn people, including our adult children, of spiritual dangers, too. Don’t let the world teach you otherwise.

Paul certainly taught Timothy, his adult son in the faith:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace
from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:1-2

One of the first lessons of Proverbs is:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7

The very next verse is:

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction
And do not forsake your mother’s teaching . . . .
Proverbs 1:8

Wise mamas teach their children to fear the Lord. Wise mamas also teach their children to hold tightly to their father’s and mother’s instructions so that they will not be fools who despise wisdom and instruction. Wise mamas also teach their children that truth exists and that they must learn it — not by looking for it inside themselves, but by looking to God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.

Jesus described Himself as:

“. . . a man who has told you the truth,
which I heard from God . . .”
John 8:39

He told the Jews who had believed in Him:

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
John 8:31-32

Concerning the Holy Spirit, Jesus said:

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,
that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
He will testify about Me . . .
John 15:26

The world has plenty of folks who are unwilling to learn — and who dare anyone to dare to teach them anything. The consequences are catastrophic.

His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
He will die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.
Proverbs 5:22-23

What the world needs is people who are humble enough to learn.

Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,
For I give you sound teaching;
Do not abandon my instruction.
When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.”
Proverbs 4:1-5

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