Saturday, May 7, 2011

Proverbs 19:26 commentary

26 ¶ He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.

Literally, a son or daughter today can do this, but either way financially ruining their father, and then ignoring and alienating their mother so as to avoid any responsibility to her life, is a child that causes shame and brings reproach. Perhaps, as Matthew Henry says, they were raised badly, to be parasites, and that the parents deserve some blame for their own suffering but I have knew a family years ago where one son stayed close, not out of respect or concern, but in order to be in a position to steal what little money the parents had and to abuse them. He was like a leech sucking up every penny his parents had worked for.

I know it is tempting to say, like Henry, well he or she wasn’t raised right and, often, that may be true. The parents may not have set a good example. Christian parents who don’t have daily family devotions, who don’t pray together, or read the Bible together, and who don’t act as Christians in temperament and self restraint are training their children to be failures as Christians. But children are independent moral agents, and they, while influenced greatly by their upbringing, can still of their own free will turn out to be monsters in the end. If even believing Christians can succumb to great sin and error then it is not a stretch to believe that even a Godly upbringing isn’t a 100% guarantee against raising a Prodigal Son or worse. I would not dismiss the parents so easily if a child turns out badly. Chances are, they did have a hand in it, but there is also the possibility that they raised someone who was simply bad. I simply don’t buy into the flawed logic that people are only bad if their environment is bad. I’ve known people raised in a loving household, a Godly household even, who were wicked and those who overcame the worst of circumstances to be Godly men and women.

There is also the implication here that a child can be simply irresponsible as well as thoughtless. Young people today aren’t usually concerned about receiving an inheritance as people live longer, sometimes in nursing homes, and often have whatever wealth they had wasted away in their own care. A child, though, can always be in trouble, always need bailing out, and always need money or a place to live. As long as a parent, out of guilt or love, gives in to the reckless child’s pleas then they encourage the behavior. Parents have lost their homes and their savings to such foolish children. If an adult child shows a pattern of immoral living, recklessness with money, and laziness a wise parent would be best to cut off their charity in order to force the adult child to make some serious changes. To Christian parents, now, are you an enabler? Do you encourage bad behavior by giving in and shielding them every time your child gets a bad consequence of rotten behavior? Always bailing them out?

Just a warning. Shame and reproach are lurking around the corner. Be prepared.

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