Just this past week (or maybe it was 2 weeks ago) I was having a conversation with the lady that I babysit for about how a child that is raised in a good home, a Godly home, can seem to turn away from everything that they had been taught as a child and grow up to be a completely different adult than how he or she was raised. I have personally witnessed this many times, and I shared what I have observed, and that God gives each of us free will to chose the path that we will walk in our lives. And just as some young people that grow up in good and Godly homes choose a path of destruction of self and/or others, so too can the young person that grows up in the environment of cynicism, bitterness, hatred, mental and physical abuse, and just outright meanness grow up and choose to be happy and choose Christ and a life of striving to please Him, and not others.
Even some of God’s most faithful faced this issue. This morning as I was reading in 1 Samuel, I was reminded of the wickedness of the priest Eli’s sons. I love the story of Hannah and Samuel, and her brokenheartedness and faithfulness, and had completely forgotten about Eli’s sons.
1 Samuel 2:22-26 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.
This is a perfect example of children/adults growing up in the same home, with the same training, same parents/guardians, same values, and choosing completely different paths. It is God’s plan for us to make choices in our lives for ourselves. We can’t choose the path that our children take, we can guide them and direct them, but ultimately the choice is theirs. I have talked with many parents that have said “If only I had done this…..” or “If only we had given them that…..”…..honestly none of that matters. The child/young person is the one that is responsible for his or her own choices. It is not your fault if your child ends up in jail on drug and burglary charges (even if that is the example that you set for him or her), we are all responsible for our own lives, our own choices and we can’t control our children into adulthood.