In this series, we are discussing the high calling that is parenting. We have identified that children are a blessing – a gift from God! – and ways in which to love them intentionally, just as God loves us intentionally. Today, we are approaching a more difficult topic: discipline.
As parents, we are the protectors of our children. And, in an effort to protect, we are called to discipline. We are to lead them, and if we don’t, they will find someone else to follow. Why, then, is discipline so important?
- We discipline because we love them:
- Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
- Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the Lord‘s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
- Hebrews 12:6-7: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
- According to God, love and discipline are inseparable. God, in His grace and love, disciplines us as His own children.
- We discipline to teach them:
- Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
- If our children are disobedient, it isn’t a reflection of them, it’s a reflection of our parenting.
- We discipline because we have hope for them:
- Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”
- Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Why are parents, then, reluctant to discipline?
- We don’t want to kill their spirit, creativity, dreams, uniqueness. But, our children will find abundant life because of our discipline, not despite it. They crave safety and boundaries, which discipline provides and encourages.
- Proverbs: 23:13: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.”
- We don’t want to be inconvenienced. It takes time and it’s hard. In public, it might be embarrassing. And, watching our children suffer can be emotionally taxing and painful.
Let’s define clearly the differences between discipline and punishment, because they are not synonymous as we often assume. Punishment is payment and leads to condemnation. Discipline is training our children within the grace of God to teach them obedience (after all, unlike parental discipline, God’s discipline towards us never ends). Discipline leads to abundant life.
The Parameters of Discipline:
- It is restorative.
- Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” It must be done in a spirit of gentleness and not in anger. Anger won’t be the thing that trains our children’s hearts.
- Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
- Restorative discipline is the result of a child choosing discipline because of their disobedience.
- It is unpleasant (neither a joy for the parent or the child).
- Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
- It’s a painful process.
- It produces repentance without regret.
- 2 Corinthians 2:10: “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.”
- Discipline looks like confession, repentance, and forgiveness. It should never lead to resentment; God doesn’t hold grudges against us for our disobedience, so we shouldn’t hold grudges against our children either.
- Discipline should not have a negative affect on our relationships with our children. Rather, it should lead to greater trust.
Join us next Sunday as we head into the last sermon of our current series, Parenting the Next Generation. It’s going to be so good!