“When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel.” — 1 Samuel 8:1
At least two facts are clear from the life of the prophet Samuel: (1) He was a faithful servant of God, and (2) his sons were wicked men who used their power for selfish purposes. How can we reconcile these two facts? How is it possible for godly parents to have rebellious children?
Occasionally we hear stories about people with a public reputation for godliness who are tyrants at home. Such hypocrisy was not present in Samuel’s life—the Scriptures speak of him as a man of integrity. It is possible that Samuel was guilty of being a spiritual work-aholic, though, again, the Scriptures never state that fact. Ultimately, whether a parent is good or bad, each and every child has a will and the freedom to make choices. Samuel’s boys chose to reject the ways of their father.
Our children must grow up and decide for themselves whether they will believe and obey what we have taught them about God. We can pray diligently and model our faith. We can instruct and encourage. We can try to mold and shape and point our kids in the right way. But ultimately, they will each decide for themselves to embrace or reject Christ. No one else can make that decision for them.
If your children are walking with the Lord, thank God with a heart full of joy. If your children are not following God’s ways, don’t punish yourself. Pray for them relentlessly and take comfort in the fact that God can change even the most stubborn heart.
There are no guarantees for raising godly children