Robbing One’s Parents
1. The book of Proverbs has much to say about the way parents are and are not to bring up their children.
2. It also has a few words to say about how children are and are not to treat their parents.
1. Here Solomon describes a situation that might seem incredible at first. Who would ever rob from their own flesh and blood… from their own parents who brought them up and nourished them?
2. It’s bad enough to rob a stranger, but to rob one’s own parents almost sounds unthinkable.
3. This might happen more often than you think—and in some ways that we may not have thought of.
4. Rob: Seize; gain possession of an object without a proper agreement between parties; rob.
5. There are many ways that robbery can occur.
a. Robbery by actual theft (secretly).
• A son could rob his parents by stealing money out of the draw or taking his mother’s jewelry or by cashing their checks.
• Drug addicts often steal to support their habit. And their target of choice is usually their own parents. They figure, if I get caught, they won’t press charges.
• They often steal their mother’s jewelry, cash checks, etc.
b. Robbery by wasting their goods and finances.
• Spending money foolishly; and simple things like throwing away a ¼ of a toothpaste tube; eating half of an apple; wearing clothes a few times and trashing them; etc.)
c. Robbery by fraud
• A son could rob by lying about how much money they have, or need, or how much something costs; etc.
d. Robbery by running up a debt.
• They might run up a bill on a credit card in their parent’s name.
e. Robbery by playing on their heartstrings
• They might tell some sob stories to ooze some sympathy in order to get money from their parents.
f. Robbery by borrowing without any intentions of paying it back.
g. Robbery by spending their inheritance like the prodigal son.
h. Robbery through sloth.
• Prov. 18:9 – They can commit robbery by not doing the chores or by not taking care of the property, thus, letting things fall into disrepair.
• He’s too lazy to harvest the crops at harvest time, so they rot and he impoverishes his parents.
• Through sloth they can slowly rob their parents a few pennies at a time… by leaving food on the counter to rot.
• He can rob his parents by carelessly not putting oil in the lawnmower and allowing the engine to seize; by carelessly losing his clothes and other things; etc.
i. There are lots of ways to commit robbery.
6. He has virtually no concern for his parents at all.
a. It doesn’t dawn on him that all the things he wastes, his parents had to purchase. They had to work hard to earn the money to buy the goods that he wastes.
b. He has no concept of the value of money… or the value of hard work… he seems to think money grows on trees.
c. Of course if HE had to work many hours to purchase those items with his own toil and labor, he might see things differently.
d. Telling this young man to turn off the lights to save electricity goes in one ear and out the other because he doesn’t have to pay the light bill.
e. If you tell him not to leave the hot water running or the AC running all day he thinks you are weird and mean.
f. The young person Solomon describes here is immature, irresponsible, and selfish.
g. He demonstrates the height of ingratitude.
h. This is not a very nice young person Solomon is describing.
i. Prov. 19:26 – Here Solomon describes this kind of son as one who “wastes his father” (by robbing him or wasting his money or goods) and “chaseth away his mother” (perhaps by running her off her own property).
• This is a son who abuses his parents… and we hear about that today too – elderly abuse… scams committed against the elderly, etc.
• This is disgraceful and shameful behavior.
1. This young person commits a crime against his parents, but he doesn’t see it that way. He says, “I did nothing wrong. It is not a sin to take things from my own parents.”
2. He is self-centered.
3. He has an entitlement mentality: “I deserve what I took. After all, I live here. This is my house too. I am entitled to have everything that I want.”
4. He is deceived and blinded by his own narcissism.
5. He may genuinely believe that whatever he takes from his parents he deserves or is entitled to… and therefore, taking it is not robbery.
6. Mark 7:10-11 – Jesus spoke of the wickedness of a son in a similar situation.
a. The son Jesus describes is not one who is robbing from his parents.
b. Rather, this is a son who SHOULD have been providing for his aging parents. The law required it. He was to “honor” his parents… which included providing for their needs.
c. However, this man did not want to provide for his aging parents.
d. Therefore, in pretense, he says that he ceremonially dedicated all his goods to God. (Corban). That meant that those goods could not be used for any purpose other than the Temple service.
e. Thus, this man went to his parents and said, “Dad and mom, I’d love to help you out, but all my goods are “corban” – dedicated to God, so I can’t help you out. Sorry.”
f. Instead of helping his parents, he made up an excuse.
g. The son in our proverb robbed his parents, and made up an excuse: “I did nothing wrong. It was no transgression.”
7. In both cases (the one mentioned by Solomon and Jesus) the son had utter disregard for his parents and was concerned only about himself.
a. It’s hard to imagine children behaving this way—but it does happen.
b. It happened in Solomon’s day, centuries later in Jesus’ day, and centuries after that in our day.
c. It is human nature to think only about ourselves.
d. In extreme cases, it causes adult children to have no concern even for their own parents… their own flesh and blood.
e. Salvation – repentance is the cure.
1. He has destroyed their peace of mind… their rest… their joy… and perhaps even their reputation.
2. His character is that of a destroyer.
a. And if he treats his own parents this way, how will he treat others? What does it say about his character? Who would want that kind of a person for a spouse?
b. He brings misery and grief to his parents.
c. He destroys family harmony and peace… no natural affection.
d. He destroys the security of the family nest egg for his parents retirement years.
e. He is no different than an outright destroyer or a robber.
3. Prov. 21:7 – The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them.
a. Ultimately, wicked men who rob will receive judgment from the Lord—even if they get away with it on earth.
b. Sooner or later, your sin will find you out. That applies to robbers too.
c. Not only will it find you out, it will destroy you (either in this life or in the life to come).
d. The law gave a special blessing to those who honor and care for their parents: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
e. There is also a special curse for those who mistreat them.
f. Prov. 20:20: “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.”