Thursday, February 11, 2016

Grandmothers and Reality

by Betty Jackson

Grandchildren can light up the aging years (Prov. 17:6). Some grandparents are apt to say they enjoy their grandchildren, and how happy they are to send them home! Most grandmothers will admit it is wonderful to be loved as grandchildren love them, without the stress of being completely responsible for their every need. However, the Lord explained the responsibility of grandparents. By inspiration, Moses wrote:
 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children” (Deut. 4:9 - emphasis mine).
Families are so scattered from one another. It isn’t easy to have time with our grandchildren. However, the reputation of grandparents is established in the eyes of the young easily. Even some of the most despicable women show great affection for their grandchildren. Sadly, their influences are not for good.
Note that there are some grandmothers of the Bible who were of that stripe. The period of the divided kingdom of Israel was permeated with the most horrendous acts of evil. The infamous Jezebel and her husband, Ahab, king of Israel, had three children together: Ahaziah, Jehoram, and Athaliah. (A few argue that Athaliah was Omri’s daughter.) 
Jezebel and Athaliah were wicked to the bone. Athaliah (of Israel) married Jehoram, king of Judah. She was an evil influence upon her husband, who murdered his brothers to strengthen his hold as king. 
Upon his death, their son Ahaziah became king. Athaliah was “his counselor in doing wickedly” (cf. 2 Chron. 22:1-9). Her co-counselors advised him… “to his destruction.” Jehu became the Lord’s executioner, and Ahaziah was killed. Athaliah took action and began killing off her own grandchildren. If it had not been for Ahaziah’s sister, her nephew, baby Joash, would have been slain. Athaliah made herself ruler over Judah, for a few years. It did not end well with her, as she was eventually executed; and the young Joash took his rightful place as king.
The purpose of this cursory review of that period of Old Testament history, is to show that a human being, even a grandmother, can become so wicked that she is willing to kill her own grandchildren for selfish purposes.

Are all the Athaliah’s Gone?

The answer is, hardly! How many mothers are advising their unwed daughters to abort their babies? Rumor has it that even Christian mothers, have advised and paid for the murder of their own pre-born grandchildren. I hope the rumor isn’t true.
Are there other ways that grandmothers are counselors in wickedness? What a painful question. How much more painful is the answer: Yes! Perhaps it is out of a lack of spiritual knowledge or understanding, but the answer is still an affirmative.

How are Grandmothers Failing their Grandchildren?

Examples teach. Grandmothers may fail to teach godliness by their slothful worship attendance, stingy giving and minimal to no involvement in the work of the local church. Our grandchildren may rejoice when we spend our money on them. But the way we spend our time and money for the Lord has a more lasting impression.
What about the way Grandma dresses? Is Grannie’s neckline showing her cleavage? When she takes her granddaughter shopping, what kind of clothes does she buy for her?
One Christian Facebook grandmother extolled her husband for how well he made alcoholic cocktails! Does she advise that alcohol isn’t wise, but that it is not a sin (mistakenly)? Perhaps she even offers her grandchildren the first taste of that strong beverage. After all some say it is better done in the home, rather than elsewhere. Has she forgotten that alcohol can be addictive?
As Christians, do we listen to gossip and practice it ourselves? Do we “trash talk?” Do we join some millennials who trash talk the church, blaming congregations for the decline in faithful youth? The common statement that “millennials want what is real” is good, if true! But that in no way correctly charges the church with not being real for the last 2,000 years! What is real is sin condemns and Jesus saves. 
What else is real is that many parents have expected the church to spiritually raise their kids.Yes, we need “real” gospel preaching. We need “real” people who really care about the youth, and the elderly. We need “real” people who care about families. But what else is “real” is the fact that more parents and grandparents need to step up and do their jobs as spiritual mentors to their own families. Then, and only then, will there be less fall out by every age group.

Grandmother Goals

Paul praised the grandmother and mother of Timothy for training him in the scriptures (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-15) Lois and Eunice are held up as examples. We are told very little about these two godly women. But this we do know. They taught what was “real” the Sacred Scriptures. Without a doubt, they also lived them. Without a doubt, hese ladies had to be modest women, who were involved in the kind of works that professed godliness. (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9-10). I cannot imagine Mary, the mother of Jesus, Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, Mary and Martha, nor Lois and Eunice speaking with coarseness or vulgarity or dressing like harlots. They were women who knew Scripture and could advise from it. They were women of class, according to the teaching of the Word of God.
How can we emulate these women for the sake of our grandchildren? 
Learn the Word of God. You cannot teach what you do not know. Be avid readers of the Bible. Study it. Be informed about current biblical issues. Learn how to address the concerns of your children and grandchildren. Can you answer their questions about when the dinosaurs were created, the age of the earth or evolution? Be prepared! 
Learn to pray! If you love God and his word, strive to be a devoted praying individual. Pray for your grandchildren constantly, and as opportunity permits in front of them while they are young.
Show love and trust for the Lord. How much do you want your grandchildren to go to heaven? On the other side, how badly do you want them to avoid hell? There is only one life with which to teach our offspring. And for grandparents, it isn’t that long.
Love is more than giving things. We enjoy doing that. But deeper love is the love (agape) that sees more than the physical. It sees what is real. It sees that there is an eternity, that there is a God who loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die to purchase the church, the kingdom (cf. Col. 2:12-14).
Love is seeing to it that we do everything within our power to be the example that will show our grandchildren that there is a better path than the broad way that so many are traveling.
Does your grandchild own a Bible? Does he/she own age appropriate spiritual reading materials? Do your grandchildren have clothing suitable for going to worship, even if it is only occasionally when they visit you? Make sure that your gifts include these things. 
Talk to your grandchildren. It is great to play with them, to take them to special places. But talk to these young ones about spiritual matters, about the church, about Jesus. When they are little, sing songs with them like “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” Read Bible stories to them.
Let’s make it a resolution to do more to enhance their spiritual growth. Make a list of ways you can spiritually encourage your grandchildren. Do all you can to create a closer bond with them so that your influence can be felt. Perhaps you have neglected keeping in close contact. Write them paper letters, email, call them. Remember their special days. Make it a goal to do better. Be as present in their lives as is possible. 
Evil is extant in our world. The church can teach, support and encourage, but the primary responsibility for showing children what is real belongs to parents and grandparents. What more can you do to reduce the attrition of your young people? Hell is real. Heaven is real. Judgment day is real.
The love of grandparents is so very real. Let’s use it for eternal good, and not selfish motives.  
Again: “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children”( Deut. 4:9ff). This is real!


Recommended Reading
Jackson, Wayne. John 2:1ff The Wine that Jesus Made. ChristianCourier.com. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/666-john-2-1ff-the-wine-that-jesus-made
Jackson, Wayne. What About Moderate Social Drinking? ChristianCourier.com. Access date: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/308-what-about-moderate-social-drinking
Jackson, Wayne. Thinking Straight About Abortion. ChristianCourier.com. Access date: January 21, 2016. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/259-thinking-straight-about-abortion
Jackson, Wayne. Genesis 1 and Dinosaurs. ChristianCourier.com. Access date: January 20, 2016. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1415-genesis-1-and-dinosaurs

Good materials for youngsters:
Truth Be Told. Kyle Butt and Eric Lyons. Apologetics Press. https://www.apologeticspress.org/store/Product.aspx?pid=54
Discovery Magazine. Apologetics Press. https://www.apologeticspress.org/store/Category.aspx?cid=3
Apologetics Press has numerous materials for children and teens.
For homeschool or Bible class:
Jackson, Betty. We Believe Because. Christian Courier Publications. See: https://www.facebook.com/WeBelieveBecause (Contact: betty@christiancourier.com)
See: We Believe in God Because of Dinosaurs.