During my devotional time this morning (hoorah, I got a complete, almost interruption free-devotional time this morning!), I was confronted with a Scripture in Proverbs on parenting and discipline.Uff. I said it, the topic of much controversy and division in the Church (although I'm not entirely sure why, after all, the Bible is very clear on it)... Discipline.
It's one of those "tricky" subjects where we believe that gray area is applicable.
Scripture teaches us how to discipline and parent in a manner which pleases Christ. One of such Scriptures is Proverbs 13:24
Do you mean to tell me that if I don't adequately discipline my child I hate him in the eyes of God?
Well, not I. The Holy Spirit rather... But yes.
It is amazing how the culture of this nation has been infoltrated by darkness and death so much that even in disciplining our children, we rebel against God. This is the day where children rule the households, any manner of discipline outside of "positive reinforcement" (which is no discipline at all) is shunned upon and parents are encarated for spanking their kids.
But Scripture here is very raw and to the point. It cannot be taken out of context--besides a parent who uses it to justify child abuse. And sadly, this happens too.
I parked here for a few minutes and allowed the Lord to tweak my heart on the manner of disciplining my children. And I studied it.
The Hebrew word for "rod" (that which we must not spare) is "shebet" and it is literally translated to "rod, staff, branch, offshoot, club, shaft, club, sceptre." When you study like Scriptures with the same word, you will notice that the rod is always a symbol of authority. We must exercise our godly authority as parents in our children's lives. It is not enough to bargain, plea and "be nice to them." We are the authority that God has placed within their lives and if we fail to teach them to honor us as their authority, who is to say they won't rebel against other such godly authority, or even Christ as the ultimate head?
When we allow our children to undermine our authority in any way, we hate them in the eyes of God. We are appeasing their souls and their bodies rather than their spirit. And which is to last longer?
The Hebrew word for "discipline" is "muwcar" and it is literally translated to "discipline, chastening, correction." To go even further, the dictionary defines chastening as "a rebuke for making a mistake." The Bible over and over and over again tells us that our Father in Heaven disciplines those He loves. He didn't exactly ask us if it was ok, or bargain with us. He spoke, we disobeyed, He allowed the consequences to discipline us.
Think back on your life. I bet the times you've learned most about God is when His chastisement was upon you to purify you and bring you closer to Him. Why would do any different with our children?
Finally, (and in my opinion, the best one) "diligently" in the original Hebrew is "shachar" which is literally translated to "to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early, or diligently for."
That means that we are to be looking for reasons to discipline our children. Discipline is not a response to an action. It is the earnest seeking for ways to bring one's child into the character of Christ with a willing heart.
We cannot make our children have willing hearts, but we can teach them how to. We can teach them to quickly obey so that when the Father in Heaven speaks, they will obey. We can teach them to honor and serve one another and to esteem others better than themselves by encouraging selfless acts instead of fleshly tantrums. Salvation springs up from the ground of the home and it is our duty to give them every tool possible so that they will draw nearer to Him in salvation.