There's not a responsible parent on the planet who hasn't struggled with getting a child to obey, and it can be an excruciating experience. How do you get your children to mind without losing yours?
Bringing up children in God’s way in a corrupt generation like ours have posed a challenge to several parents. God's Word has much to say about how we as parents can meet that challenge. It shows us how to provide the kind of discipline that helps our children fulfil their responsibility. If the most important thing for our children to learn is to obey, what do we do when they won't?
Many parents find it uncomfortable using biblical spanking as a form of discipline due to several reasons ranging from lack of belief in spanking, unable to manage frustration/anger and portray love/gentleness while spanking, being too soft-hearted to inflict pain on children, being too difficult to spank consistently, etc.
In our discussion, we are going to examine what the bible says about discipline and the styles we use as parents to discipline our children
The Bible and Discipline
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterwards, it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
In this passage, we can discern five distinct characteristics of God's kind of discipline.
1. The necessity of discipline: to deter destruction (v. 4). Discipline is about watching your child to see the direction in which he's going. Remember the illustration of giving your child the keys and letting him drive on his own? Action needs to be taken when you see your child take the wrong route and you know he's headed straight for a cliff. You yank the wheel or slam on the brakes, or even put up a barrier so your child won't plunge a thousand feet. He'll get mad for a moment, but ten years down the road he'll thank you.
Many parents are afraid of making their children mad. A better response is to grit your teeth and bear the anger of your child because it's better to make him frown than let him rush toward destruction. That frown won't last forever. Destruction, however, just might.
2. The means of discipline: actions and words (v. 5). In the Proverbs 3:11 passage that is quoted in Hebrews, two different Hebrew words are used: Yasar (discipline), which involves God's actions; and yakach (rebuke), which refers to God's words. Hebrews 12:5 tells us not to make light of God's actions and not to lose heart in His words of rebuke. Yasar refers to disciplinary actions; yakach refers to corrective words.
As parents, that's exactly how we are to discipline. We bring words and actions, warnings and consequences, into our children's situations in order to keep them on track.
3. The motive in the discipline: to express love (vv. 6-9). When juvenile delinquents, as part of a research study, were asked how they knew their parents' feelings toward them, almost all of them said that lack of discipline in their home was a sign that their parents didn't love them. We often think that we're expressing love when we repeatedly say, "I'll give you another chance." What we're really doing, though, is neglecting to set boundaries that let our children know they're in a safety zone where they can feel secure. One of the most powerful ways to love your child is to be consistent in your discipline. And that's really hard. We're inclined to do whatever we can to maintain a friendship with our children when discipline is actually much more important.
4. The goal of discipline: to teach obedience (v. 9). When you teach your children godly submission, you're teaching them to do the right thing for the right reason. You want them to get beyond the point where they say "I've got to" and get them to the point of obeying out of love and trust. Their discipline will be primarily external in the beginning, but eventually, it should become internal — so integrated into their personality that its self-discipline rather than imposed discipline. The way you regulate how they speak and act toward other people needs to become a part of who they are so that when you remove the regulations, the behaviour remains.
5. The result of discipline: short-term pain and long-term gain (vv. 10-11). The reason we don't like to discipline our children is that it involves short-term pain. We're sympathetic to their feelings, and we never enjoy hurting them. Verse 11 acknowledges the pain, saying all discipline — not some or even most, but all — seems not to be pleasant, but painful. But there's a process involved; those who have been trained by it yield the fruit of righteousness.
Discipline, as Hebrews say, is painful for a moment, but it eventually yields fruit. And though few people enjoy the inconvenience and pain of discipline, they look back on the hardship and almost always decide that the fruit was worth the effort.
To be continued...