Watching Your Kids’ Influences

Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.” (Genesis 35:1-3)

Jacob now has a large household: two wives, two handmaids, twelve children, and apparently a number of servants who are the “all that were with him” that the Bible mentions. As an aside, God’s Word does not endorse multiple marriages. In fact, the strife between Leah and Rachel over their marriage to Jacob is a great example of why multiple marriages are a bad idea. God’s standard for marriage, one man/one woman, is always right.

Back to our story. Jacob goes from tent to tent, telling his people that they are all going to go back to Bethel. As he walks in, he sees little idol statues. Either Jacob didn’t know his family had them, or he knew but said nothing. To give Jacob the benefit of the doubt, let’s say he didn’t know; which means his family had learned about idols from someone else besides him.

If you’re a parent, you know, or you should, that your kids have other influences besides you: other kids or other adults in the neighborhood or at school, by TV, the internet, social media, and too many others to mention. You can be sure that not all of these influences will be good.

The devil has ways of bringing bad influences into our lives. Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of the prodigal son. The prodigal was the younger of two sons. He told his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” (Luke 15:12) The father complied, “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” (Luke 15:13)

How did the son know about the far country and what went on there? There was no TV, radio, or social media. Yet he found out. As a parent, you probably can’t insulate your child from every bad influence. Yet you are responsible to bring your kids up “…in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

Make the Bible part of your home life: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,” (Deuteronomy 6-7) Make a habit of memorizing verses and passages from God’s Word. Hide them in your heart. That command is for you as a parent. Then teach them diligently to your children. The more they know God’s Word, the more readily they will know bad influences when they do appear.

This is also why you should screen your kids’ friends and monitor their internet and social media use. You should also be aware of what your kids learn in school. As long as they are children, you are the final authority for their education. They belong to you, not the government.

Be the spiritual leader in the family. Be the one who goes to church, who reads the Bible, who serves the Lord in your daily life. Pray for your kids to know and love the Lord, too. Maybe you haven’t been the spiritual leader you should be. It’s not too late to start. Most importantly, if you want to know how to have your sins forgiven and go to heaven by receiving Jesus as Saviour, please go to, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”

Brian Miller 10/28/2022

Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822