“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The way that our children should go is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). What our children should never depart from is the world of God. That word will keep them strong, happy, and productive citizens of the country in which they live. More importantly, it will keep them faithful to the Father with full assurance of a place in heaven one day. Sadly though there are many parents that are teaching their children things they ought not to learn.
While grocery shopping in our local “super” mart, I happened to notice a mother with a young boy in the buggy she was pushing. They were both eating a snack size bag of Cheetos. A few minutes later I was in the fruit and vegetable section and again saw the same mother and son eating. This time however they were sharing a banana. Being thoroughly disgusted at what I had just witnessed, my thought turned to the child and what he was being taught. One thing is certain, that young boy was not being taught to respect the property of others.
According to our God, stealing is a sin. The command “Thou shalt not steal” is found not only in Exodus 20:15 but also in Matthew 19:18, and Romans 13:9. 1 Cor. 6:10 even more emphatically shows the evilness of stealing: “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” That mother in the “super” mart was teaching her child something that will keep him from gaining eternal life with God.
If a child learns that it is okay to take a piece of fruit from the store without paying for it what will keep them from stealing something else even more valuable. Once a child learns that taking what is not theirs is an acceptable way to gain possessions, then they also learn that hard work is pointless. They will learn that honesty is a trait only religious zealots possess.
Jesus taught that “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35). Perhaps that mother did not intend to teach her child to steal but that is exactly what she was teaching him. We must always be aware of what we are teaching our children not only by what we tell them but also by what we show them. God does care about what we are teaching our children.
In Christ, Steve Preston