Scripture: Dear friend, do not imitate what is bad but what is good. (3 John 1:11 NKJV)

Observation:  Follow not. Rather, “imitate not.” John pauses in his discussion of the conflict within the church, and states general truths which, if observed, will enable Gaius always to make right decisions.
That which is evil. Literally, “the bad.”
That which is good. Literally, “the good”. In this stark language the apostle is probably analyzing the situation that confronted Gaius and his friends—the course pursued by Diotrephes is “bad,” and is not to be imitated; the course commended by John in vs. 5–8 is “good,” and should be put into practice. [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (697). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

Application:  Moses had taught the Israelites, “ Never follow a crowd in doing wrong. When you testify in court, don’t side with the majority to pervert justice.” (Exodus 23:2, GW).  As parents it is important that we teach our children to stand for their own opinion and not be led by what the majority does.  Peer pressure can be daunting for some children, particularly if they have been bullied at home by their siblings and even by their parents.  While we may think that having children who are compliant and who always accommodate and obey what we ask them to do, it is not a disadvantage if our children disagree with us and test the limits of their parents’ patience, at least some time.  James Dobson speaks of the strong-willed child as one who challenges his/her parents often.  But it is also that strong will which will not let them be led by the majority or by other children when encouraged to do something that is contrary to what they believe or what they want.

How do we teach our children to imitate what is good instead of what is bad?  As with most everything we want our children to learn, it all begins with the example his/her parents give them.  When the husband is rude, unkind, or abusive toward his wife, he is teaching his sons that that is the way men should treat women.  On the other hand, when a husband treats his wife with respect, kindness, and love, he is teaching his sons to do the same with his mother, his sisters, and one day with his girlfriend and his wife.  When a man cheats on his taxes, steals things from work, or regularly breaks the law, he is teaching his boys to do the same.  When a father respects other people’s property, respects the law of the land, and maintains an ethically correct conduct he is showing his children the proper way to live.

By the way a woman cares for her husband she also shows her daughters the proper care of their father and of the man who will one day be their husband.  She does not have to deny her individuality nor consider herself less important or lower than her husband when God created her in His image as much as He created her husband in His image.  By the way she acts she teaches her daughters to value and respect themselves which is important to them as they relate to men in their life.  But when a woman and wife imitates women on TV or the movies, lives in such a way that others disrespect her, allows a man to abuse her, or doesn’t care for her home or her family she is teaching her daughters to do the same thing.

Don’t imitate others who don’t live correctly; imitate others who provide good examples of what a man and husband, a woman and wife should be to their children.

A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, our children watch our every move, listen to our every word, observe what we do.  Help us to imitate those who live upright lives because by doing so we are giving our children a good example to imitate for themselves.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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