By Alan Turner
“Whoever robs his father or his mother, and says, “It is no transgression,” the same is companion to a destroyer”. (Proverbs 28:24. NKJV)
I never cease to be amazed at how some children, even adult children, appear happy to drain their parent’s pockets without conscience or regard for consequences. There seems to be no thought of the possibility of them suffering some inconvenience, expression of effort, or of taking personal responsibility for providing for themselves. Nor, that the parent has obtained this wealth or possession only as a consequence of their own hard work, possibly over many years, and for purposes of their own.
Perhaps it is to do with a dislike of work for reward. Proverbs has several comments about those who are unwilling to commit the effort to look after themselves. Two examples: “A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. (Proverbs 19:24, NKJV) and, “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.” Proverbs 18:9. NKJV). Both provide a description of a lazy person who will be happy for someone else to come along and provide. Please note that the second of these also expresses the view that the lazy person is a brother (or companion) “to a great destroyer.”
In our present society I identify this as a problem noticeably prevalent amongst the so called millennial generation, which seems to have a belief in entitlement without effort. Certainly it appears more of a problem now than with earlier generations. We should each earn to meet our own needs. Paul covers the issue very succinctly in Thessalonians, “We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.” (2 Thessalonians 3:12. NLT ) This is something that Paul always did, wanting never to be a burden to others. For young children it may be excused as they have no perception of where or how money and possessions are acquired, or the effort required to gain them.
Matthew records the words of Jesus regarding the wickedness of children who are intent on diverting wealth and do not feel any sense of duty to maintain their parents, “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honour his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites!” (Matthew 15:5, 6. NKJV)
In Proverbs 28:24 Solomon shows how foolish and damaging it is of those who think there is no wrong in robbing their parents, whether by deception, by abuse, by waste, by threats, by force, by fraud, or even by running them into debt and leaving them with the problem of repayment. I have a friend who, being prudent, years ago set up a family trust to protect the family home for his wife and children in the event of a future adverse event. When he and his wife decided at retirement to down-size and choose a simple and more relaxed lifestyle the sale of the property as a trust asset was challenged by a beneficiary who had an eye on the proceeds of sale being accessible for his purposes rather than for the benefit of the parents in setting up their retirement lifestyle, or of his siblings in their needs. The result being that years later the parents continue to live in the same (now unsuitable home) and there is a damaged family relationship.
Justifications for a guilty child expressing the view “It is no transgression”, include that the stolen possession will be their own shortly, they are too hard up, their parents can afford to spare it, they have a need now and are unwilling to wait, or they cannot live in the style that suits them on the miserly amount they get from their parents or from their employment. Each of these justifications endeavours simply to offload any responsibility. It refuses to accept any level of personal responsibility in much the same way as we often see efforts to avoid responsibility when things go wrong. An example would be when we suffer an accident. We call it the blame game and put the blame on someone else; it was his fault, not mine. As an excuse or justification this simply does not work. What we are really seeing is insensitive ingratitude, cruelty, dishonesty, disobedience, and laziness. A brief look at the Commandments shows at very least the Commandment against stealing is broken, but I identify that covetousness is involved, as is a failure to honour both father and mother.
One who feels there is no transgression is walking down the same path as the people in Judges about whom it is said that, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” (Judges 21:25, (NKJV). This is an attitude that simply led everyone further from God. They got deeper into problems, as we will if we depart from God’s guidance. We need to respect others, most specifically in this instance our family, value our relationship with them, and abide by God’s Laws.
No matter what we think, or how hard we think it, we cannot change the truth of our actions – a theft remains a theft, and theft destroys. The guilty robber is one who we should see as a “companion to a destroyer,” a friend of Satan.
We need to love and look after the people in our bubble – not seek their exploitation.