“Few realize that, in their lives, they constantly exert an influence which will be perpetuated for good or evil.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1032.
Approximately twenty years ago, two young men from a church next door to our home came over to “convert” us. We agreed to participate in doctrinal studies with them in hopes of “converting” them to our beliefs.
Early one morning, I was studying Matthew 5 and read, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Verse 19. Oh yes, these young men are teaching people to break the commandments of God! Shortly after this self-righteous thought entered my mind, another idea, new to me, came to mind. Joan, everything that you do and say is teaching someone to keep or break the commandments of God. This was a startling thought. But Lord, I am a Seventh-day Adventist. I have the truth. I am not teaching error. “The gospel of Christ is the law exemplified in character.” Maranatha, 18. “God’s law is a transcript of His character.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 207. By every thought, word, and action, I was teaching someone to keep or break the commandments. What an unsettling thought that by an un-Christlike character, I might be leading others to break God’s holy Law!
A Lesson from Solomon
“Hundreds of years had elapsed since Solomon caused those idolatrous shrines to be erected on the mount; and, although Josiah had demolished them as places of worship, their debris, containing portions of architecture, were still remaining in the days of Christ. The prominence upon which those shrines had stood was called, by the true-hearted of Israel, the Mount of Offense.
“Solomon, in his pride and enthusiasm, did not realize that in those pagan altars he was erecting a monument of his debased character, to endure for many generations, and to be commented on by thousands. In like manner, every act of life is great for good or evil; and it is only by acting upon principle in the tests of daily life, that we acquire power to stand firm and faithful in the most dangerous and most difficult positions.
“The marks of Solomon’s apostasy lived ages after him. In the days of Christ, the worshipers in the temple could look, just opposite them, upon the Mount of Offense, and be reminded that the builder of their rich and glorious temple, the most renowned of all kings, had separated himself from God, and reared altars to heathen idols; that the mightiest ruler on earth had failed in ruling his own spirit. Solomon went down to death a repentant man; but his repentance and tears could not efface from the Mount of Offense the signs of his miserable departure from God. Ruined walls and broken pillars bore silent witness for a thousand years to the apostasy of the greatest king that ever sat upon an earthly throne. . . .
“It was this prophecy of impending ruin (see 1 Kings 11:11) that had awakened the apostate king as from a dream, and had led him to repent, and to seek to stay, so far as possible, the terrible tide of evil that during the later years of his reign had been rising high and still higher. But at the time of his repentance, only a few years of life remained to him, and he could not hope to avert the consequences of long years of wrongdoing. His course of evil had set in operation influences that afterward he could never fully control.
“Especially was this the case in the training of the children born to him through marriage with idolatrous women. Rehoboam, the son whom Solomon chose to be his successor, had received from his mother, an Ammonitess, a stamp of character that led him to look upon sin as desirable. At times he endeavored to serve God, and was granted a measure of prosperity; but he was not steadfast, and at last he yielded to the influences for evil that had surrounded him from infancy.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1032, 1033. [Emphasis supplied.]
Are you teaching your children to erect monuments of a holy character? If you have begun wrong, take courage.
“To parents who have begun their training wrong, I would say, Do not despair. You need to be soundly converted to God. . . . It is of the highest importance that you bring the attributes of Christ into your own life and character, and educate and train your children with persevering effort to be obedient to the commandments of God. A ‘Thus saith the Lord’ should guide you in all your plans of education.” Child Guidance, 69.
Provide for your children a training that will help them erect the monument of a holy character. It will stand throughout eternity!