To all fathers out there, Happy Father's Day! I can't think of a more appropriate time to ask the following question: "What will happen to a nation whose children grow up without a conscience?" One reason it's appropriate to ask this question now is due to the mounting evidence that such is happening in our nation, right now.
Continually, news accounts include stories of children committing atrocities that would have been almost unthinkable a short time ago. Sometimes, the acts of violence are committed by teenagers, such as in a number of mass shootings that have taken place in schools across the country in recent years. But with alarming frequency we're hearing of pre-teens, and even young children, committing murder. Drug dealers have incorporated young children into trafficking drugs for many years now, tempting them with what seems to be a lot of money, and assuring them that their status as minors protects them from being punished as adults. The legal system in our nation is struggling to deal effectively with a problem that is rapidly getting worse and growing in violence.
Let me add a couple more questions that are really just variations of the previous one. "What will happen to a nation whose children grow up without morals?" The final question: "What will happen to a nation whose children grow up without faith in God?"
Conscience is a product of conditioning. The depth and direction to which a person's conscience develops is based upon the fabric of his moral conditioning. A conscience is an internal, personal alarm system. It sounds its alarm when a person does something that violates his sense of right and wrong, his morality. What he determines to be right or wrong comes from some standard that serves as the base line of moral values for that person. Without basic faith in God, it is impossible for an individual to develop and consistently maintain a moral conscience. Without God there is no basis for morality, for there is no such thing as right and wrong, only what is expedient for the moment.
Now for the second reason why it is appropriate to ask such questions. Today is Father's Day. Where do you think a child should receive his moral training, his basis for developing an effective conscience that helps him recognize right from wrong? What do you think should be one of the most fundamental sources for the development of faith in God for a child growing up? You guessed it, his father!
Too many children are growing up without fathers. Too many children have fathers who are terrible examples and poor teachers of the fundamental principles of right and wrong and goodness. They are ungodly fathers and they are rearing ungodly children. Harsh words? Maybe, but they are words of truth. We need to reassess how we're raising our children. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). There could not be a more appropriate day on which to begin that reassessment than on Father's Day...
Gary L. Hutchens