Martin Luther had much to say on the subject of education and parenting, drawing from his deep understanding of Scripture and his experiences, as a pastor, as a university professor, and most importantly, as a father. This is the third in a series of quotes taken from a Bible Class discussion paper put together by retired Pastor Dan Fleischer, quoted from the book Luther on Education by F.V.N. Painter.
False Parental Love
“A false love blinds parents so that they regard the body of their child more than his soul. … Hence it is highly necessary that all parents regard the soul of their child more than his body, and look upon him as a precious, eternal treasure, which God has entrusted to them for preservation, so that the world, the flesh, and the devil do not destroy him. …”
We as parents are often concerned about our child’s physical welfare, making sure they are well fed, clothed, sheltered, making sure that they have access to doctors and medicine when they are sick, keeping them active so they stay healthy. Of course this is part of our God-given duty as parents, but Luther here reminds us that it is not our primary duty. We are called first and foremost to take care of their souls. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in meeting our children’s physical needs, we forget about the spiritual, the equipping them to fight temptation and the devil, and that has much more lasting importance. God’s advice in this area…
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Put on the full amor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.