Bible Reading: Proverbs 22:1-29
“Train up child a in the way that they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” [Proverbs 22:6]
One of the most important issues in life is parenting. It is particularly important that children are lovingly given clear parameters that they cannot go beyond without hurt and pain. In order to enforce those parameters discipline is required. A good father disciplines his children. Proverbs says that whoever spares the rod hates their children and that an evidence of love is discipline.
Discipline may be painful, especially for the one who has to administer it, but it has to be done, and in a right spirit. The right time for discipline is not when anger and emotion are high. To physically punish a child in anger is abuse! Discipline requires a cool head and a loving heart. An old African proverb says, “If you punish your child with one hand, then draw him to your heart with the other hand.” When a child has been given a clear command, understands, and refuses to obey, then that is the time to discipline. Do not wait any longer. Our son, Timothy, still remembers the wooden spoon! His testimony is that if it was not for loving discipline and prayer he would be in prison today!
Nathan’s parents needed a break and so they left him with us for a few days. He could be naughty and they gave us permission to discipline him if necessary. He deliberately did something very naughty in order to test us. I told him that if he did it again I would smack him. He deliberately disobeyed and so I kept my word and smacked him on his bottom. He cried a lot, but after a short time he came to me with arms outstretched and said, “I love you, Uncle.” Then he asked for a hug. He knew that he was loved. From that moment his attitude changed and we did not have to discipline him again. It may not always be as easy as that and it will be necessary to be both persistent and consistent.
This may not be politically correct but it is Biblically correct and a lot of anger and rebellion would be avoided if we would lovingly discipline our children in the way that God teaches us in His Word. Sometimes children do go astray, but they will never forget the training that was given to them in a spirit of love. Rob Parsons says that you may have to keep your head down for a while and pray for them, but they will come back.
Why do you think that the Western world has generally rejected the Biblical injunction and method of disciplining a child?
Read Proverbs 13:24; 23:13; 29:15,17. What do these verses say about the importance of discipline?
What do we learn from God’s example of discipline in Hebrews 12:4-11?