Pastor Bill Neil
Avoiding the Curse
Raising kids is like flying a kite:
- They won’t fly.
- Then when they do fly they fly all crazy.
- Once they find the wonder they won’t stop flying
- They want you to cut the string and fly on their own.
Let me just say about this last stage of flying. Everybody at some stage in life is going to desire the liberty to fly alone, but you have to be careful because too much liberty too quickly can hurt you. You can get so addicted to freedom that freedom will override all authority in your life. This is true for all of us who are in Christ, but especially young people who are getting anxious and keep pulling at the string trying to break it so you can fly on your own. My little motto is, “liberty according to character.” See, we get addicted to freedom and if you have freedom beyond what your character can handle you will struggle with restraint in every area of your life and getting older will not bring wisdom, but you will only feel more and more entitled to have your freedom.
We have this lived out in the bible with Eli’s sons. As they grew up in ministry and had way too much liberty and had no respect for God or his authority.
(1 Sam 2:22 NKJV) now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. (NKJV)
By the time their father was forced to intervene, it was too late, they were spoiled church kids who had too much freedom without any character. The liberty that children are given and when they are given it needs to be left up to every praying parent.
Out of everything God could have talked about to end the Old Testament, he talks about the relationship between children and their fathers. He could have talked about the coming Messiah and hope for the world, but he didn’t.
(Mal 4:4 NKJV) “Remember the Law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
(Mal 4:5 NKJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
(Mal 4:6 NKJV) and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
If you didn’t know it, the last word in the old testament is “curse,” again, out of all the words God could have used, that would have seemed more fitting (hope, Messiah, salvation, redeem, Spirit, forgiveness, love) God chose “curse”.
The unique idea about the curse God is talking is that this curse is from God and our text reveals to us that if fathers and children do not get their hearts right toward each other, not only are they going to be operating under a curse from God, but, the entire earth pays the price. I don’t think any of us have to look very far to see this curse in full operation in the earth today. It is statistically proven that children who have a healthy relationship with their father’s have less anger issues, less mental issues, less suicides, commit less crimes, don’t struggle with their sexual identity, education suffers, and the economy fails.
Let me encourage every teenager in here to guard the years of your father’s authority, because, again, this is where a lot of the breakdown in relationship happens, the power struggle. Who’s going to tell you who you should date, or what time you should go to bed or be home at night. It’s the natural cycle of life, that we all grow to a place where we are going to walk into freedom, but I encourage you to let it come to you, grow into it, don’t run after it, it will come, it is only around the corner. The power your parents hold over you is only temporary. You won’t always struggle to free yourself from their authority.
Writer and humorist Erma Bombeck writes in one of her articles noticing that not only had the authority changed, but the roles had changed. As her and her mother grew older she became the protector and provider for her Mom; taking her shopping, making sure she was warm when she left the house, taking her to the bathroom at night, and on and on. Her comment was simply, “oh God, how quickly.”
Before you know it, their time will come to close their eyes one last time. Enjoy them now, talk to them now, while they still recognize you and can respond to your voice.
Yes the earth will suffer because of this collapse, but the greater suffering is done by the one who refuses to forgive and lives with this unresolved.
A Nurse named Sue Kidd in a 1985 article to “Focus on the Family” tells one of her experiences, I will abbreviate it.
At 9AM a man, middle 50’s, Mr. Williams was admitted into her hospital, he had, had a mild heart attack. Sue goes in to check his vitals, it seems he’s doing fine and he asked me if I could call his daughter, he began to breath harder, Sue did and this is what happened. She got the number and called, “Janie this is Sue Kidd a nurse at the hospital. I’m calling about your father. He was admitted tonight with a slight heart attack.”
“NO!!!” She screamed, “You must not let him die” Sue said, “He’s stable and getting the best care possible.”
“But you don’t understand, my daddy and I haven’t spoken in almost a year, we had a terrible argument on my 21st birthday over my boyfriend. I ran out of the house and I…I haven’t been back. I wanted to go to him for forgiveness, but the last thing I said to him was I hate you.” There were tears then she said, “I’m coming I’ll be there in 30 minutes.” Sue hung up the phone and went to Mr. Williams room only to find him not breathing. Sue prayed, “Oh God, no, don’t let it end this way.”
Mr. Williams was not revived, when Janie arrived at the hospital. Sue cried with her and then Janie asked to see him, as they went into the room Janie fell on her daddy and wept, Sue just stood there speechless, as Sue looked on there was a piece of paper folded up that said,
“To my dearest Janie” I gave it to Janie and she read it out loud:
“To my dearest Janie, I forgive you. I pray you will also forgive me. I know that you love me. I love you too.”
Janie’s face became full of peace. She hugged that piece of paper, and Sue simply said, “thank you God.”
Our text tells us this, (Mal 4:6 NKJV) and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. You see that it is two sided, both father and children are wrong, but I want you to see that it begins with the father making the first move. You want to avoid the curse? Then allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ to break down the barriers between you and forgive.
Let me say this to children, if your father has turned his heart toward you and you still aren’t forgiving, then you are going to find yourself fighting this “God curse” with no blessing of God in your life. You can try wrap it any way you like and call blessings in your life “from God”, but if your heart is bad toward your father, there is no blessing from God. You can come out from under the curse only if you forgive.
Christian father let it start with you, then church kid it’s your turn… avoid the curse!