Perhaps you’ve heard the axiom in the title of this article. It’s an old one but a true one. It restates in non-biblical terms what is seen in the pages of the Bible. Take for example King David. He permitted himself to have eight wives: Michal daughter of King Saul, Ahinoam of Jezreel, Abigail the Carmelite, Maachah the child of King Talmai of Geshur, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, and Bath-shua (Bathsheba) daughter of Ammiel (1 Chronicles 3:1-9). Having multiple wives is called polygamy and polygamy is a sin. I’ve heard all the arguments that in the ancient world women were regarded as property hence to have many wives was to be wealthy. Perhaps that’s true but it deviates from God’s clear, stated instruction in Genesis 2:24 of a one man, one woman marriage. King David permitted polygamy in moderation.
Now consider his son, King Solomon. The Bible records that Solomon had, “. . . seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away” (1 Kings 11:3)! Solomon’s appetite for beautiful women led him into polygamy in great excess and ultimately his downfall. His wives turned his heart away from God Almighty to worship false gods such as Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh, and Molech. Eventually, God tore the united kingdom of Israel away from Solomon and divided it between Jeroboam (northern 10 tribes) and Rehoboam (southern 2 tribes).
Nice history lesson, Irv, but what does that have to do with us parents today? Be careful, parents, what you permit yourself. Your children are watching your example and will emulate what you permit and take it further. Your children will justify their excess by pointing to your compromise. Let me be very practical here. If you permit yourself to drink a little alcohol, even if you think your children won’t find out, you shouldn’t be shocked if they drink alcohol excessively and openly when they become teens or young adults. It you permit yourself to view pornography occasionally to stimulate yourself, you shouldn’t be shocked to learn that your young adult children have become porn addicts or sexually promiscuous. If you permit yourself to explode in anger toward your spouse, you shouldn’t be shocked when your son or daughter becomes angry and physically abusive toward their spouse. You get the idea. Our children are watching us and learning from our example.
What can parents do who have blown it in their example to their children? First, realize you’ve blown it. Be honest with yourself and stop justifying sinful behavior or speech. Second, repent. Confess to God what you’ve done and call it sin, then turn around in your thinking and behavior, stop sinning and begin to live righteously. Third, ask the forgiveness of your children. Tell them that you were wrong in what you did or said. Ask them to forgive you for being a poor example and that you intend to change. Finally, change and live righteously by the power of the Holy Spirit.
May those who come behind us find us faithful,