What part do grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren? Can they contribute significantly to the lives of their grandchildren? If so, in what biblical way can they make a difference?
What Grandparents Should Not Do
Parents of course have the largest role and influence on their children but grandparents also have a huge role. One thing that grandparents should not be involved in is interfering or taking sides in their children’s marriage. How disconcerting it is to hear children’s parents put down by their grandparents. On the contrary, I try to always support and hold up in respect my grandchildren’s parents. The first marriage ceremony ever given and by God Himself said that a man should leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. The word “cleave” is closer to meaning glued or bonded to their mates. The two become one flesh and so this leaves no room for parents or in-laws to enter into the marriage, even when they have children involved. I stopped giving advice to my children when they got married. I figure, if they need advice, they will ask for it. To give unsolicited advice is actually interfering in their own God-ordained marriage.
This means that grandparents should not try to tell their children how they should raise their children but allow them to learn themselves. Of course, if there is a safety issue where the grandchildren might be harmed, then the higher principle is to speak to their children about their grandchildren in the interests of their safety and welfare. We can not insist that our children should use the same methods that we used in raising our children because they are the parents…we are not. Even though this is so very tempting, grandparents can drive their children farther away and cut off any possible influence they might have in their grandchildren’s lives.
Psalm 103:17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.
Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Deuteronomy 4:9 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.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
Titus 2:2-4 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.
Many of the grandparents listed in the Bible had huge impacts on their grandchildren. Jacob the grandfather of Ephraim and Manasseh blessed Joseph’s sons. Naomi was the grandmother of Obed, who begat Jesse who later begat King David. Lois was the very influential grandmother of the pastor and evangelist Timothy. The grandson of Hannah was Joel. Maybe you are a Christian grandparent. I am a grandfather and all of my grandchildren have a good working knowledge of the Lord. Every time I see them and speak to them, I include principles from the Bible so that they might learn that the Lord is good to those who obey Him and He also disciplines those Who are His because He loves them. I love telling them stories out of the Bible where they can learn lessons that they can later apply in life when they face their own Goliaths. When they come across difficult decisions, it is my hope and prayer that they will make the right decision, even if it is painful. Being a godly grandparent is more than just reading the Bible to them, although this is very important. It is being a godly role model so that when the day comes and you are gone, they can fondly remember the things that their grandparents did and hopefully, this will instill in them the desire to do good, just like Louis did for Timothy.
Grandparents, I hope you will share your life’s experiences with your grandchildren so that they will reflect on what you did during difficult times or when you had to make decisions that may not have felt good but were the right thing to do. One of my favorite saying is “the right thing is not always popular and the popular thing is not always right.“ Next to their parents, you are quite possibly the greatest influence that they will ever have. They will see your faults and imperfections, but if you admit them to them, they can see that it’s okay not to be perfect and to admit it when they are wrong. I want my grandchildren to know that I was never perfect, but the Lord that I trust in is. That just as we can forgive others who hurt us or use us we can also be forgiven and so we should forgive others. Why? Because they may not know Jesus like we do. I want them to remember that I did the right thing, I watched the right movies or TV programs, I said the right things, and that I helped others when I could. Your grandchildren are watching you. What are they learning? More is caught than taught and your words will be drowned out by what you do. You might say one thing but then do another. That teaches them that being a hypocrite is okay. When they see you do the right thing and that it matches what you say, then that is one powerful lesson that will be passed on and on and on.
Children are a gift of God but so are grandchildren. Thank God for them. Pray for them that they might come to saving faith someday. Tell them if “pa pa” or “gam ah” ever die, they are not really dead but they are waiting for them in heaven. Give them hope of an eternal future. Tell them about Jesus’ saving faith and that God wants them to come to heaven someday. That way, when you are no longer with them, they have the hope that they will see you again in the Kingdom of Heaven. Then, there will be no more time-outs, there will be no more “take your medicine”, there will be no more scrapped knees, and they can spend as much time with grandpa and grandma as they want, because there will also be, no more bedtime! How great is that!?
Here are some other family articles for you to check out:
New International Version Bible (NIV)
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www.youtube.com “Tell Me About The Good Ole Days” by The Judds