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A Biblical View of Child Discipline is Both/And

March 21, 2011

A Biblical View of Discipline

While society relates discipline to an uncontrolled use of physical punishment, Biblical discipline involves love, the heart, and God’s Word. Because God is concerned with the issues of the heart, biblical discipline involves much more than outward behavior. Biblical discipline gets to the heart
of the problem. After all, if you can reach the heart, the behavior will take care of itself. In order for us to reach the hearts of our children we must realize that there is far more to parenting than getting our children to act right. We have to get them to think right and to be motivated out of a love of virtue rather than a fear of punishment. We do this by training them in righteousness. Righteous training can only come from the
Word of God.

In Ephesians 6:4 we are told to “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” I have found that the second part of that verse is far more challenging than the first part.

It’s easy for us to tell our children that they have done wrong and chastise them for it, but it takes much more preparation, discipline, understanding, and self-control on our part to actually instruct them according to God’s Word. This approach takes much brain activity that requires us to think through and verbalize that faithful instruction. This from a mom whose brain activity seems to be exceptionally low after a trial-some day with the kids!

When they disobey, we think we have done well to say, “That was wrong, and you shouldn’t have done it . . . (whack, whack, whack) now, get in your room!” When we do this, we have only done half of what God has called us to do (if that much, SS).

Certainly God has called us to use the rod to drive foolishness from the hearts of our children. We are told in Proverbs 22: 15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” But equally important is that he has called us to “instruct them.” Scriptures that pertain to discipline tell us clearly that God intended the two to go together. Ephesians 6:4 says, ” … bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We see the two together again in Proverbs 29:15:”The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother” (underlined emphasis mine).

Ginger Plowman, Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, 26-27

 

 

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