Good And Bad Mothers

I Kings 3:16-28 (KJV)
16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.  17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.  18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.  19 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it.  20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.  
22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.  23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.  24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.  25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.  26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.  27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.  28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

By Bishop Michael Goings
With Mother’s Day being just a few days away, I thought it very appropriate and timely to make some comments on what is arguably the most essential and influential human position in our culture.
This saying from a poem by William Ross Wallace, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” has historical merit when you consider world changers and conquerors like Moses, Alexander the Great, Jesus Christ, Thomas Edison and our current President Barack Obama.  All of these were greatly inspired and influenced by their mothers.  Like me, each of them could be categorized as a “Mama’s boy.”  Exactly what is a Mama’s boy?  A Mama’s boy can be defined as the son of a mother whose influence and impact upon his life was greater than any other human agent in fostering, discipline, and development and consequently purpose and destiny.  There are more Mama’s boys in the African-American sector of our culture than any other segment  This is due to the disproportionate incarceration of black males, the alarming number of black babies born to unwed mothers, the divorce rate and a few other socioeconomic factors within our
subculture.  
There are some golden nuggets we want to extract through a process called compare and contrast.  Though the story involves two women of ill repute, there are nevertheless some valuable principles on motherhood that can be gleaned.

Good and Bad Mothering Transcends all Boundaries
The first important lesson we learn from these two women, who were harlots by trade, is that you can most likely find both good and bad mothers in every profession, sector or sphere of our culture.  This by no means justifies or glorifies behavioral lifestyles and practices that are illegal or immoral.  It simply proves that a woman can have the qualities of a good or bad mother regardless of her environment or circumstances.  I have seen some good mothers who were unfortunately caught in some bad situations and some bad mothers who were considered privileged, educated and socially revered and respected.  Bottom line is “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and don’t judge a person until “you have walked a mile in his/her shoes.”

The Careful vs. the Careless
One of the very important comparisons and contrasts that this lesson from antiquity illustrates about motherhood is that there are careful mothers and careless mothers.  A careful mother can be defined as one who is attentive and cautious in her duties and responsibilities as a primary caregiver of a child.  The opposite is true for the careless mother.  She is negligent and often indifferent in her duties.  Unfortunately, far too many mothers today are in the latter category.  They are careless and downright negligent in their duties and responsibilities to their children.  
During this Mother’s Day, let’s commend and celebrate the mothers who are both courageous and careful in their role as mothers regardless of race, creed, color, or profession.

The Compassionate vs. the Callous
The final lesson that this famous incident from ancient times renders us on the role of motherhood is the contrast between the compassionate and the callous.  
Even as it was with these two mothers who stood before the wisest of judges, it is even so today.  There are mothers who are full of compassion and love for their children and who will do anything to help or save them from hurt or destruction.  They are even willing to sacrifice and release them into someone else’s care or oversight if it means sparing them from harm or death.  They are willing to deny themselves of new clothes, new shoes and eat meager meals that their children might be properly clothed and sufficiently fed.  They are  willing to scrounge and save until they through their thriftiness become human pack rats.  Thanks Mama!  Now, I know why you had the tendency to save almost everything and would seldom throw anything away that you considered usable.  
Finally, I realize why I can hardly remember you buying new clothes or shoes for yourself when we went into Belk’s, B.C. Moore’s or Kornblut’s.  It was all about your children.  It was all about us.  It was all about me.  Regrettably, if there are compassionate and selfless mothers, there are also callous and selfish ones.  These women lack the maternal attributes of love, self-sacrifice, unfaltering commitment and other essentials that all true mothers possess.  This is not intended as an indictment against any mother regardless of the category or situation she may unfortunately be in.  I have merely endeavored to present a constrast of two types of mothers in our culture.  Our culture is in dire need of women who will meet the challenge that confronts all who would dare to be good mothers.  
It is with this in view that do I both pray and conclude my comments.