It is important to recognize that, regardless of the kind of professional title a person may carry, if a person is a parent, that person is a leader - like it or not. One of a "believing" parent's many responsibilities is to teach and lead their children in righteousness according to God's standards as defined in His Word. It is critical that a parent recognize this responsibility and embraces it, always considering their own actions and how they affect one's responsibility to lead one's children. The reason this is so important to constantly consider is because, whether a parent is aware or not, a parent is leading their children somewhere. A parent will either lead their children closer to the Lord by example, or away from the Lord by example. Children are constantly watching their parents and often mimic what they see and hear. Consequently, a parent should constantly be seeking the Lord and His righteousness to ensure that pick up as little bad habits as possible.
This truth is powerfully evident in Genesis 26:7-11. In this portion of scripture, the Bible documents an event in the life of Isaac that very closely resembles the testimony of his father Abraham. The scriptures explained that Abraham had challenges with fear and deception. When Abraham was afraid, he had a tendency to deceive in order to keep himself safe. For example, when Abraham fled to Egypt because of the famine in Canaan, he lied about his relationship with his wife, telling the Egyptians that Sarah was his sister. Abraham was exposed in his lie by the Lord and was asked to leave Egypt. Many years later, Abraham was living in Gerar with the Philistines, and again told the Philistine people that Sarah was his sister and not his wife. Once again, Abraham was caught in his deception and asked to leave. These are bad habits. There are not things that a parent would be proud for their children to know about. These are not things that a parent should teach their child. Nevertheless, if this is the way one conducts one's life, the child will learn anyway.
In Genesis 26:7-11 the Bible explains that Isaac was living in Gerar amongst the Philistines on account of the famine in the land - just like his father was. In fear of his life and the life of his wife, Isaac told the people, including the king Abimelech, that his wife Rebekah was his sister - just like his father did. The scriptures state that one day, Abimelech saw Isaac caressing Rebekah and soon realized that Rebekah. Abimelech was furious. The Bible explains that Abimelech summonsed Isaac and questioned about why he lied. Isaac confessed that he lied on account of his fear. Just as in his father's instances, the Bible reveals that Abimelech was offended that Isaac lied, fearing that one of the people might have tried to take Rebekah as a wife, and bring guilt upon the people while not knowing that she was already married. Though Abimelech did not try to remove Isaac from the land, he did issue a stern warning to his people, that they should not seek to harm Isaac or Rebekah.
It is interesting to see Isaac do the same foolish things that his father did; especially when one considers that Isaac wasn't even born when Abraham deceived the Egyptians and the Philistines. Clearly there were habits that Abraham had that were passed down to his son. These habits and practices were sinful in nature and could have brought Abraham and his family great harm. More importantly, the bad habits that Abraham practiced were against the will of God and were not glorifying to Him. Isaac learned these same things. Though Abraham was considered a righteous friend of God, there were certain sinful facets about him that were passed down to his son anyway. This is a difficult reality to process. One might have the honorable faith that Abraham did, but still has a sinful nature that can be taught, so that if a person continually practices those types of sinful things, they will be learned!
This is a dangerous reality, and is the exact reason why God demands such a steadfast focus on Him and His righteousness through His Word. The Bible constantly instructs God's people to meditate on His Word, and teach the contents of His Word to younger generations. The reason why is because God wants to protect His people. God understands the dynamics of sin and how sinful habits are inherited and taught. God wanted His people to be aware of these truths so that one can knowingly and constantly seek God for wisdom, for mercy, and for His Spirit in order to be more like Him and less like our sinful nature. God does not desire that parents go about parenting by their own wisdom. As the Bible reveals, when parents seek to lead children in their own wisdom and understanding, there are dangerous sinful habits that are shared that draw young people away from the Lord. Parents must recognize these truths and seek the Lord with zeal and an intense form of dependency on the Lord, trusting in Him to provide His Spirit so that our children are raised in the image of God rather than the image of sin.