A poor farmer had reached the “end of his rope” and he was in hopeless financial straits. His crops had failed and there was no money left to feed his family or keep up the farm. He had no more credit left. He decided that the only thing he could do was rob a bank. Desperate measures to be sure, but he was a desperate man. He had never robbed a bank before, but he drew up a plan. He found an old rusty pistol, a bag to put the money in, and wrote a note which said, “Don’t mess with me; this is a stick up.” He was very nervous as he entered the bank. He went up to the teller’s window, gave the teller his gun and said, “Don’t stick with me; this is a mess up.”
Most parents can identify with the farmer’s nervousness. In one way or another, all of us “mess up” from time to time. We try hard not to make a mistake, but invariably our humanness evidences itself and we foul up. Children are usually pretty resilient and are able to handle the mistakes parents make provided there is a consistently good example set before them. Typically, they learn far more from our lifestyle than they do our words. God complimented Abraham when He said concerning him that he would “command his children after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice” (Gen. 18:19, NASV). Like every parent, there were times when he “messed up,” but he was a good parent and a devoted servant of God. You can be a good parent as well, even though you occasionally mess up, provided you set before your children a consistent godly example for them to follow.