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Is discipline love?

15 Oct

The quick and short answer is YES!  The Lord’s word teaches that a part of Godly parenting is discipline.  The post-modern new-age parenting of exclusively using “time out” is not taught in God’s word.  In fact, at best “time out” can sometimes qualify as the reproof which must follow Godly discipline.  Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.  The Hebrew word used for rod here is Shebet which literally translates to a “stick used for punishing” and the Hebrew for reproof is towkechah which means to refute, argue or, more properly, reason and instruct.  The latter is characteristic of “time out”.  Notice that such reasoning or instruction is to be preceeded by “a stick for punishing”, it takes both to instill wisdom.

First and foremost, parents must always administer discipline from a motivation of love.  It must never be used while angry.  Many parents who have waited to resort to spanking, after multiple warnings to their children to obey, do so in anger and thus afterwards feel guilty and later reluctant to use it again.  But the bible clearly indicates that if a parent loves their child they must use the rod of correction.  Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (probably one of the most misquoted verses in the bible as many would like to substitute “hateth” with “spoils” which has totally different meanings and implications).  The Lord repeated this truth in Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Discipline must start at an early age or while there is still hope.  Most sociologists agree that the early years are a child’s formative years.  Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.  Please don’t wait until they’re teenagers and then try to curtail bad behaviors.  Now, let me pause here to say that there is a world of difference between discipline and abuse.  Abuse stems from anger and is both wrong and sinful.  It is also excessive and unnecessary.  Discipline, however, redirects bad behavior by basically stopping it and not only compels but teaches a child to respect authority.  It is time- tested and has been used for multiple millenia successfully.  When it was practised in our schools, we did not need police to provide security and there were no regular incidences of kids taking guns to school to kill classmates and teachers.  When it was practised in a majority of homes, children at large were more respectful of others and less self-centered.

All of us are born in sin and that sin nature is what compels our children to disobey or act out foolishly.  Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.  In other words, it isn’t just “kids being kids” but sin being sin.  Many parents also want to replace the rod with taking away privileges which is a form of bribery.  “If you’re good then you can have this, but if you’re not you don’t get that”.  Even in the book of Hebrews the principle of the rod of correction for our good is mentioned.  Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.  The “rod of correction” isn’t just the bible’s way of abstractly meaning discipline in a general sense.  It did not mean being “grounded” or in “time out” but to use a “rod of correction”.  Another scripture which plainly points out the use of an actual stick or “switch”, as our elders have said in the past, is Proverbs 23:13,14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.  I submit that you cannot beat, strike, or switch a child’s rear with a “grounding” or a “time out”.  It’s just physically impossible.  I know I’m being facetious, but I think the Word makes its point.  There are other points in this text.  A child will not die from properly administered discipline, although you might would think so when they cry.  My grandma used to say that is why God gave us extra padding on our rear.  Notice that this proverb is stated as a demanding sentence “Thou shalt beat…”  Another point is you will deliver him/her from hell.  The implication is that if you use correction followed by Godly instruction your child will not turn from it, but learn from it.  Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Finally, Godly discipline not only produces a Godly child but will be a rest and pleasure to his/her parents.  Some of the most stressed out people in life are those parents who lack true control over their children.  Mostly this includes those who practice “time out” as their source of “discipline”.  You will likely see them at a store or restaurant begging repeatedly for their kids to “stop that or else” or they will have a blank stare with the learned ability to ignore the blatant disobedience or lack of respect being perpetrated by their children in their presence (who has trained who?).  Think I’m being harsh or insensitive?  Consider the fact that this problem has gotten so prevalent that there are actually restaurants popping up around the nation which will not allow children due to the desire to have an undisturbed atmosphere for dining (It is being called the “child-free” movement).  My friends, that is a shame.  That tells me that rather than fix the problem, many have resorted to working around it.  And the true victims are the children!  If we, as parents don’t teach them to be truly respectful, some stranger one day, refusing to put up with their attitudes as adults, will later teach them with a hard lesson and I guarantee you that stranger won’t have your scruples!  If you utilize the rod of correction, and not after fifteen warnings (which serve only to eat at your patience and raise your blood pressure), you will have rest. Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.  Remember to do otherwise will hurt them and bring you shame “…but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

I know while writing this that it is a sensitive subject to parents.  But when I worked with juvenile delinquents by day, I used to deal with the product of absentee parents and “new-age” parenting and this subject is important. Our way of life and our children’s future depends on us forsaking “what saith the world” for “what saith the Word”.  Please don’t shoot the messenger but consider the text and learn.  I love you and I want nothing more than to see our Godly children growing in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, respecting God’s house and you, as well as their elders.  What you teach them now is what they hopefully will teach their children later.

Think on these things …

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