Well we are pressing on in our series entitled “Train up a child”. We’ve been grappling with principles of Christian parenting as they have been revealed to us through Gods word and amplified for us in the writings of Ellen White, the Spirit of Prophecy.
In our study, we are now considering corrective disciple. Let’s pick up the flow. We’ve considered first of all, what character was, and the fact that that is the goal of Christian parenting, to develop a Christ-like character in the lives of our children. Then we went on to consider those factors that oppose us in realizing that goal, primarily inheritance factors. But also, the weed sower, Satan. Who is constantly trying to sprinkle seeds of error in the little gardens of our children’s minds. We went on then to consider our particular roles as father and mother. And then we started a study of the four major techniques, training techniques, that are open to us as parents, in helping our children to build a Christ-like character.
You remember what they are. First of all Precept, teach them diligently, an instruction in principle. Secondly what? Example. Thirdly, Restraint, or preventive discipline. We studied that last night, in our presentation entitled Nurture and Admonition. And this morning we need to turn our attention to “The Rod and Reproof”, Corrective Discipline. Preventive discipline, restraint. Corrective discipline, the rod and reproof. Those measures that we must take, if, our preventive measures are not sufficient. If our children have willfully broken through our preventive barriers. Then we must take corrective measures. That’s what we’re talking about when we speak about corrective discipline.
And this, brothers and sisters is such an important issue to understand. Because it is not only vitally important to exercise, corrective discipline, but it is even more important to RIGHTLY exercise corrective discipline. We can do more damage than good, if we exercise corrective or punitive measures in a wrong way. And yet we will do serious damage if we fail to exercise corrective measures when necessary. It is so vitally important for us to have a correct philosophy, if you like, a Biblically grounded philosophy of corrective discipline. That will help us to rightly use the rod and reproof. So let’s pray in a special way for the outpouring of Gods Spirit. To help us to come to a Biblical perspective in this matter. To have a Biblically based philosophy of corrective discipline. Shall we kneel before our God.
Father, again we bow before you in acknowledgment of our creature-hood, and in recognition that You are the sovereign creator God of this universe. We thank you for the privilege of coming though unworthy in ourselves, boldly before Your throne in the worthy name of Jesus, the Lord our righteousness. And we come again this morning, with our earnest plea and request for Your Spirit. Father, the way that seemeth right unto a man is the way of death. Our sin damaged faculties are so terribly distorted, that what seems right to us is really self destruction. Oh Father, by Your renewing power, that Spiritual energy, that brought something from nothing, and made planet earth, come into the void of our lives and quicken us, and bring into being those mental faculties. Renew the sin-damaged ones. And enable us supernaturally to understand Your truth. Especially in this matter of corrective discipline, Father. I’m trusting You Lord, to work a miracle, in this poor earthen vessel. I pray Lord that Your truth might be clearly proclaimed, in spite of my deficiencies and weaknesses. That is going to have to be a miracle, I’m counting on it Father, please, I know that You will not let me down. For I ask what I know to be within Your will, and I ask believing in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
The title of our two part series now, dealing with corrective discipline is “The Rod and Reproof”. The rod and reproof. And it’s taken from Prov 29:15. Turn with me there please. And note with me the most important principle that we must come to grips with, if we are to use the rod and reproof rightly. What is the purpose of the rod and reproof according to this text itself? Prov 29:15 “The rod and reproof” do what? “give wisdom” Oh please dear parent, don’t ever loose sight of that fact. The rod and reproof are to give wisdom. If we use the rod and reproof for any other purpose we are misusing corrective disciplinary measures. The rod and reproof must ALWAYS be used in at least an effort to give wisdom. Now what is wisdom?
Reading on, that text by the way, before we define wisdom. “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” I wish I had my little three year old daughter here, to repeat that to you by memory, it is so precious. That’s one of the first that we teach our children. She says it with that beautiful childlike accent. “The rod and reproof give wisdom”. I wish I could imitate it, it’s so precious. “But a child left to himself, brings shame to his mother.”
What is this wisdom, that the rod and reproof, must bring? Let me give you a working definition for wisdom. OK? WISDOM – I would suggest, wisdom is an understanding of the principles of Gods word, combined with an ability to recognize cause effect relationships, between obedience to those principles and blessings and disobedience and curses or suffering and death. I want to run through that again. What is wisdom? Wisdom is an understanding of the principles of Gods word, combined with an ability to recognize the cause/affect relationships, between OBEDIENCE to those principles and BLESSING. And the cause/affect relationship between DIS-OBEDIENCE to those principles and SUFFERING, and eventual DEATH. That I submit is what wisdom is.
Wisdom involves the power then of sanctified reason, in consultation with a sensitive and well-informed conscience. That conscience that has the principles written upon it. Wisdom involves the power of sanctified reason in consultation with a sensitive well-instructed conscience. Which enables us to make right choices. Understanding cause/affect relationships. That’s wisdom. And the rod and reproof are to be used in an effort to give our children such wisdom. To help our children, particularly to understand the cause/effect relationship between disobedience and suffering. Between disobedience and suffering. It must always, parents, to be in an effort to give such wisdom, that corrective wisdom is administered.
Again, particularly, to help our children understand the inevitable negative consequence of disobedience. The cause/effect relationship between sin and suffering. This cause/effect relationship is clearly pointed out to us in Gal 6. Turn with me there. What we are talking about here when we speak to the issue to the cause/effect relationships, between disobedience and sufferings and obedience and blessings. We’re actually talking about Gods JUSTICE. For it is JUSTICE that sees to it that our choices are honored. “Whatsoever a man soweth”, Gods justice tells us, “that shall he also” what? “reap” (Gal 6:7). Gods justice sees to it that our choices are honored by seeing to it that cause/effect relationships take place.
Note Gal 6:7 with me. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (V8) For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap” what? “corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” What is this FLESH, that if we sow to we will reap corruption from? It is the CARNAL MIND. That mind that is “enmity against God”, that mind that does not subject itself to the law of God, is not even able to do so (Rom 8:7). If we sow to that carnal mind, we will transgress Gods law. If we yield to the desires, the inclinations, the passions of the carnal mind, we will invariably transgress Gods law, and we will reap the consequences. “The wages of sin is–DEATH”. (Rom 6:23) And along the way to that inevitable end is misery and suffering.
It says, “be not deceived” however. Please recognize with me that it is very easy to be deceived, regarding the cause/effect relationships between disobedience and suffering. Why is it so easy to be deceived? Because there is a LAG-TIME between sowing and reaping. The cause/effect relationship there but it is often obscure to us because of the lag-time. When you plant a seed in a garden, does it immediately come up and reveal to you what it will reap? There is a significant period, when you will not be aware of what you are going to reap. That is why it is very easy to be deceived, regarding the cause/effect relationship between sin and suffering.
Now, due to this lack of wisdom. Remember, what is wisdom? It’s an understanding of the cause/effect relationships between sin and suffering, disobedience and a curse. Due to this lack of wisdom in our children. They often conclude that just because there is no immediate consequence to disobedience, it must therefore be harmless. Do you see what we’re saying? Because there is not a tangible immediate negative consequence to disobedience, the human heart, which is naturally prone to be” deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9), concludes that there must not be any negative consequence for disobedience.
What then is the result? Eccl 8:11 “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed SPEEDILY”, in other words, because of this lag-time between sowing unto the flesh and reaping of the flesh corruption, are you with me. “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, THEREFORE the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do” what? “to do evil.” Why? Because THEY THINK THEY’RE GETTING AWAY WITH IT. They don’t recognize that it is invariably going to bring negative consequences. Because they don’t immediately experience them.
Now, do you see the importance and the place of corporal punishment? Of corrective disciplinary measures? It is to bring into the child’s tangible present, that less tangible cause/effect relationship between disobedience and suffering. When they disobey, if nature took its course they may never experience the harm of that disobedience until many years later. And if you wait until many years later, what according to Gods word will happen? “therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil”.
Therefore what we are to do parents, when appropriate and when necessary, and most emphatically in the right way, we are to bring that which is in the distinct intangible future, into the very tangible present. And that is the way “the rod and reproof GIVE WISDOM.” The rod and reproof then can give wisdom. They can help a child to see that INDEED “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”. (Gal 6:7) One does not get by without negative consequences when one chooses to disobey. And that is a VITALLY IMPORTANT lesson for our children to learn. Before their heart is confirmed in them,” fully set in them, to do evil.”
Now “the heart of the sons of men” can be “set in them to do evil” for two reasons. It can either be, on account of willful transgression of Gods law, or it can be on account of ignorant transgression of Gods law. And we must come to understand which is the case with our children. If it’s ignorant transgression of Gods law, are corrective disciplinary measures necessary? I submit not. We must instruct them as to what Gods will is and make it clear to them the negative consequences if they transgress it, but then when they have been instructed and been told the negative consequences, and the still choose to transgress, then what becomes necessary? Corrective discipline, corrective discipline.
CT 126 “Teach your children to reason from cause to effect. Show them that if they violate the laws of their being they must pay the penalty in suffering.” There you have it. That is the primary purpose of corrective disciplinary measures. That is the wisdom we are to seek to give by the rod and reproof. I read it again. “TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO REASON FROM CAUSE TO EFFECT. SHOW THEM THAT IF THEY VIOLATE THE LAWS OF THEIR BEING THEY MUST PAY THE PENALTY IN SUFFERING.” Bring that which is the inevitable consequence, perhaps only in the distant future into the very tangible present, and teach them that lesson, teach them that lesson. This is the context in which corporal punishment may be necessary and most definitely would be appropriate.
To help us reason from cause to effect that we might cease our rebellion, which brings suffering and choose rather to obey, which brings health and happiness, is why God punishes His children. Does God punish His children? Oh yes He does. ST Feb 6, 1879 “They (Adam and Eve) had experienced a bitter fruits of disobedience, and learned what EVERYONE who tramples upon God’s commands WILL SOONER OR LATER learn, that GOD MEANS JUST WHAT HE SAYS, and that HE WILL SURELY PUNISH THE TRANSGRESSOR”. What is our proof positive that God “will surely punish the transgressor”? The cross on Calvary. That is the irrefutable evidence, that the wages of sin is indeed, death. That there is most definitely a cause/effect relationship between rebellion and suffering and death. And that God will see to it, that OUR CHOICE IS HONORED. PRAISE GOD THAT HE FOUND A SINLESS SUBSTITUTE, in Whom our choice could be honored for us, that we might have a chance to choose AGAIN. THAT is the good news of the gospel. And that is the beauty of the cross, for the cross preserves Gods justice.
What is Gods justice? God’s justice is that which sees to it that our choice is honored. How did God honor our choice on CALVARY, in the person of our Substitute? He took the consequence of what we chose, so that we in turn might have the consequence of what He chose. We might have opportunity to choose again. God punishes the transgressor, and parents, let us never forget that we stand in the place of God, in relationship to our children. Listen.
R&H Oct 14, 1875 “Parents stand in the place of God to their children. God corrects us when we disobey and go astray from Him, and parents are bound by the word of God to correct their children. When they disobey them and show evil tempers, check the very first manifestation of passion.” We represent God, God corrects us when we go astray. We must correct our children as well.
6BC 1085 “We are NOT to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin.” Don’t forget this aspect as well dear parent. We represent God to our children. God punishes SIN, but not give the impression that God is eagerly waiting to punish sin. Reading on, “The SINNER BRINGS PUNISHMENT UPON HIMSELF. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is RUIN AND DEATH.” Oh there is so much profound insight in that paragraph.
Did you note the important points though? We are not to regard God as waiting to punish sinners. The sinner brings punishment upon himself. But does that mean that God does not punish sinners? No. God punishes sinners, how then? In that He actively turns them over to the consequence of their own choice. He allows them, and sometimes even supernaturally to reap the consequences of what they’ve sown.
Now what do I mean when I say supernaturally? Lets look at how God punishes sinners. ROM 1:18-28. Scripture often refers to this active involvement of God in retributive justice, in corrective discipline as His wrath. Verse 18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all” what? “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Now look with me at verse 21. Why is the wrath of God revealed, why does God exercise punitive measures, disciplinary corrective measures? Verse 21 cause, what is it? “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God.” That’s the cause, now what is the effect? Verse 24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness,” But did they learn their lesson? No. Look at verse 25, what did they go on to do? Cause again.
What did we just read in that statement? “Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result.” Note the train of circumstances, the cause/effect relationships here. Verse 24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness,” the didn’t learn their lesson. What did they do? They “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” That’s the cause again.
What’s the effect? How does God turn us over, to reap the consequences Verse 26 (Rom 1), “For this reason God gave them up to” what? “to vile passions.” Did they learn their lesson? No they didn’t. Verse 28, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,” they still didn’t learn their lesson. What does God do again? What’s the effect? “God gave them over to a debased mind,” Did they learn their lesson at that point? No they didn’t. And finally they were totally destroyed by their own willful rebellion.
A series of cause/effect relationships. But is God involved? Yes. Is God punishing directly and arbitrarily? No, God is punishing in-directly on the basis of cause/effect relationships by actively turning His children over to the consequence of WHAT THEY HAVE CHOSEN.
Brothers and sisters, it’s so important for our children to recognize, that God is not mocked. And though He is not waiting eagerly to punish them, and though we as their parents who represent Him, are not eagerly waiting to punish them, we are not mocked. And if they choose to rebel, we will actively turn them over to the consequence of their choice.
CG 445 “The will of God establishes the connection between cause and its effects.” “The WILL OF GOD establishes the connection between cause and effects.” Is it Gods will that we suffer the consequence of disobedience? “God is not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9) In fact “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should NOT” what? “perish”. Is it Gods will that we perish, that we suffer the consequence of our disobedience? Not directly, but indirectly, how is it Gods will? In that “the will of God establishes the connection between cause and its effect.” Do you see that difference? That distinction? “The will of God establishes the connection between cause and its effect.”
And brothers and sisters, our children must come to realize that “God is not mocked”. That He who has established “the connection between cause and its effects”, will see to it that our choices ARE honored. This is Gods JUSTICE. The child should be taught, not to regard God as waiting to punish sinners then but that indeed, God, who is a God of infinite justice and righteousness, will see to it that our choices are honored, and if we choose to rebel against His will, He who has ordained the cause/effect relationship between disobedience and suffering, will see to it that we reap what we sow.
I submit that this understanding is what it means to FEAR GOD. Scripture says “to fear God and to” what? “give glory to Him” Why? “For the hour of His JUDGMENT is come”. The hour when He will honor that which we have chosen. The day of REAPING. It is THAT understanding that God will indeed take seriously our choice, that is what I believe it means to FEAR GOD. And this is so important for us to teach our children. Gods act of punitive judgment, scripture calls His STRANGE act, doesn’t it? But nevertheless, God will honor our choice.
Turn with me to Isa 28 and note another principle with me in this regard. Isa 28:21 “For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim. He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His awesome (strange) work, and bring to pass His act, His unusual (strange) act.” Now note what follows, verse 22, “Now therefore, do not be” what? “mockers”. What text does that remind you of? “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal 6:7). Listen, “Now therefore, do not be mockers, Lest your BONDS be made STRONG. For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts, a destruction (complete end) determined even upon the whole earth. Give ear and hear my voice. Listen and hear my speech. Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he deep turning his soil and breaking the clods?” No, not all day.
There comes a time when we will REAP what we sow. “BE NOT DECEIVED, GOD IS NOT MOCKED, WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP”. God’s retributive justice is His strange act. He does not eagerly await the pronouncement of the cause/effect relationship, and the giving of the final judgment. He does not eagerly await that. BUT He will see to it that our choice is honored. Did you note verse 22? “Now therefore, do not be mockers, lest your BONDS be made STRONG.” What does this remind you of? Eccl 8:11. What happens when the sentence is not executed speedily? “the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil”. Those bonds of sin are made what? Strong, until be become actually “HOLDEN IN THE CORDS OF INIQUITY” (Prov 5:22). Deceiving ourselves and mocking God. Deceiving ourselves into thinking our sowing is not going to bring a reaping. And mocking God in suggesting that He is not a God of justice.
But brothers and sisters, we must not let our children come to such conclusions. We must help them recognize that the curse is inherent in disobedience, because of the cause/effect relationship. Prov 8:36 “But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul, ALL THOSE WHO HATE ME LOVE DEATH.” Love what? Love DEATH. Why? Because the wages of God against the sinner is death, is that what the text says? No, because “the wages of” what? “of SIN is death”. Sin pays its own wages. God is involved in the consequence only in that He has established a cause/effect relationship. Do you understand that? That is SO important to grasp, and that is SO important for our children to grasp.
We must, when we exercise corporal punishment, brothers and sisters, we must not show them that it is in anyway arbitrary or that we in anyway are angry at them in just getting even with them for disobeying us. Oh the terrible lie that says about God. Is that the God we know. “God is not willing that ANY should perish.” He wants more than anything else for us not to have to suffer the consequence of transgression. Calvary is proof of that. And if we intimate otherwise in the way that we have ministered corporal punishment we are blaspheming the name of God to our children. This is why it is so VITALLY important, never to administer corporate punishment while you’re angry. Never. And we’ll speak to that later, because if we administer corporal punishment while we’re angry, it tells our children that the consequence of disobedience, is a harsh arbitrary reaction from an authoritative figure, and not the simple cause/effect relationship that one who loves them is trying to help them recognize before their hearts are confirmed in them to do evil.
Oh I feel so strongly about this. Corrective disciplinary measures are so vitally important to exercise, but it is even more important to rightly exercise them. We can cause just as much damage, by NOT giving any corporal punishment as by giving corporal punishment in the wrong way.
In ST July 25, 1892 “In order to go in the path of destruction, there is no necessity for searching for the way, the gate is wide and the way is broad, and the feet naturally turn in the path that leads to death.” We must recognize, brothers and sisters the condition of our children. What is it? Spelled out very clearly in Prov 14:12 “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the” what? “the way of death”.
You see, our children have a natural bent in them to self destruction. Their power and power of reason are so damaged by sin, that the way that seems right to them is the “way of death.” And they are totally helpless to choose otherwise. This is why it is so vitally important to us to exercise our wisdom and our authority in their behalf, by the correct use of “the rod and reproof”. Their little hearts “are deceitful above all things”. And their favorite deception is the original one. What’s the original one? There is no cause/effect relationship between sin and suffering. There is no death. Thou shalt not surely die. And the human race bought into that, and by nature, we are now believers, be are deceived, and it is so vitally important to help our children out of that fatal deception before it is to late. Before their little feet, blissfully and ignorantly get them so far down the path of self-destruction, so “bound up with the cords of iniquity, ” that they are “holden with them”, waiting only the inevitable consequence.
Why is it so important to give this wisdom, this understanding of cause/effect relationship between disobedience and suffering to our children, when they are in our home, when they are under our authority, why is it so important there? ST Nov 10, 1881 “The sin of rebellion against parental authority, lies at the very foundation of the misery and crime in the world today.” “Lies at the very” what? “foundation of the misery and crime in the world today.” “The sin of rebellion against parental authority.”
You see parents, because we have not helped our children gain this vital wisdom that the rod and reproof can and must give. Their hearts are confirmed in them to do evil. And the misery that we see, and the crime that we see in the world today, traces its origin back to parents who didn’t love their children enough to use the rod, when it was necessary, and in the appropriate way. “When parents neglect the duty of punishing iniquity, God Himself will take the case in hand. His restraining power will be in a measure removed from the agencies of evil, so that the train of circumstances will arise, which will punish sin with sin.” PP 728
Did you hear how God punishes? He punishes sin with sin. How? “By removing His restraining power”, and “the agencies of evil” take over the job. This is what it means in Rom 1(:28), where God turns them over to their own consequences.
CG 249 “Disobedience MUST BE PUNISHED. Is that clear? Disobedience must be punished. Oh parents but please, lets go on to study how it must be punished, ok? There is a right way and a wrong way. Reading on, CG 249,250 “Disobedience must be punished. Wrongdoing must be corrected. The iniquity that is bound up in the heart of a child must be met and overcome by parents and teachers. Wrong must be dealt with promptly and wisely, with firmness and decision. From our children’s earliest years we should seek to subdue in them the spirit of the world.” When do we start? “From our children’s earliest years”.
R&H Oct 14, 1875 “Parents, correct your children. Commence while they are young, when impressions can be more easily made, and their evil tempers subdued, before they grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength.”
R&H Oct 14, 1875, note how young we can start with corrective measures. “Children are left to come up instead of being trained up. The poor little children are thought not to know or understand a correction at TEN OR TWELVE MONTHS of age, ” at what? “at 10 or 12 months of age” they are “THOUGHT not to know or understand a correction” but that is incorrect, they do. I read on, “and they begin to show stubbornness very young. Parents suffer them to indulge in evil tempers and passions without subduing or correcting them, and by so doing they cherish and nourish these evil passions until they grow with their growth, and strengthen with their strength.” Because “the punishment is not executed speedily” what happens? “the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl 8:11).
Oh parents, please recognize that it is not the loving thing, if you fail to punish your children. In fact, its the veriest cruelty. Prov 19:18 “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying”. Oh dear tender hearted mothers, bless your hearts. Please understand the difference though between genuine love and sentimentalism. Is it genuine love to let a child blissfully go on in ignorance, disobeying Gods law as it is expressed to him in simple terms through you who represent God. Is it love to let him go on transgressing that without giving him a chance to gain wisdom through the rod and reproof, to gain an understanding between the inevitable cause/effect relationship, between disobedience and suffering? Is it LOVE that does that? Oh no it is not.
CG 256, 257 “Through His Word He has enjoined it upon you to correct your children, to “spare not for their crying’, and His Word is to be heeded in these things.”. Oh but I just can’t bring myself to do it, I love my child to much. Oh parents, nonsense.
Bible Echo June 4, 1900, a periodical from Australia. From the pen of Ellen White. “Parents you have a solemn responsibility resting upon you. It is your duty to co-operate with Christ in aiding your children to form right characters. Jesus can do NOTHING without your co-operation.” “Jesus can do” what? “nothing without your co-operation.” It is not mercy or kindness to permit a child to have its own way. To submit to its rule and to neglect to correct it on the ground that you love it to well to punish it. What kind of love is it, that permits your child to develop traits of character that will make him and everyone else miserable? AWAY with such love. True love will look out for the present and eternal good of the soul.
And brothers and sisters, the present good and the loving thing to do for your little child’s soul, maybe to turn it over your knee and apply the rod of reproof. With a very loving firmness. Never in anger. Don’t miss that point. But in what? In LOVE. In love. ALWAYS in love.
We’re running out of time, but there are some important prerequisites that I would just like to touch on, before we can rightly administer corrective discipline, let’s just briefly touch on them. First of all, we ourselves must be under Gods discipline. CG 247 “Those who desire to control others must first control themselves..”. CG 245 “Discipline them only when you are under the discipline of God.” Prerequisite number one for exercising and using corrective discipline rightly. Number 2, always bear in mind that you represent God to your children. Always bear that in mind.
When you are considering corrective discipline, tell yourself consciously, I REPRESENT GOD TO MY CHILDREN. Am I going to do so now rightly? Am I going to say true things about Him? CG 251 “As parents you stand in the place of God to your children,” Oh that’s an awesome thought. Especially when it comes to corrective discipline. If we, again as I’ve pointed out, administer punitive measures while we are angry, we are saying terrible things, and absolutely untrue things about God.
CG 480 “Parents whose tenderness and justice, and longsuffering, interpret to the child the love and justice and longsuffering of God, and who by teaching the child to love and trust and obey him, are teaching him to love and trust and obey his Father in heaven.” You represent God to your children, keep that in mind, as you administer corrective discipline.
Third prerequisite, learn to control your anger. So important. Prov 29:22 “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.” If we administer corrective discipline while we are angry we will only make matters worse. We will only stir up strife. CG 246 “Do not lose your self-control. The parent who, when correcting a child, gives way to anger is more at fault than the child.” “The parent who when correcting a child, gives way to anger is more at fault than the child.” Because the parent is committing one of the ultimate sins, he’s blaspheming the name of God, who he represents.
CG 244 “Sometimes they will have to be punished, but never do it in such a way that they will feel that they have been punished in anger. By such a course you only work a greater evil.” Fourthly, a prerequisite to administering corrective discipline, is that we must first have established a confidence in our children’s hearts, regarding love for them. It is only in the context of love, that corrective discipline can be rightly administered.
ST Dec 20, 1877 “The parents, especially the father, should guard against the danger of their children learning to look upon him as a detective, peering into all their actions, watching and criticizing them, ready to seize upon and punish them for every misdemeanor.” Remember we represent God. And we are not to look upon God as One what? Waiting to punish. Reading on, “The father’s conduct upon all occasions should be such that the children will understand that his efforts to correct them spring from a heart full of love for them. There it is. “His efforts to correct them, spring from a heart full of love for them. When this point is gained, a great victory is accomplished” Brothers and sisters, it is out of the context of love, and that only that corrective discipline can be exercised.
CG 245 “You should correct your children in love. Do not let them have their own way until you get angry, and then punish them.” So many times we allow ourselves to get pushed and pushed and pushed, and we think that we are being so patient and so loving, until we get the little straw that breaks the camels back, or breaks the pressure cooker seal, or whatever. And all of a sudden it explodes. Brothers and sisters, that is not love at all. We must deal with rebellion the first moment it evidences itself, in a kind and loving way. “You should correct your children in love. Do not let them have their own way until you get angry, and then punish them.”
I read on, “Such correction only helps on the evil, instead of remedying it. To manifest passion toward en erring child is to INCREASE the evil. It arouses the worst passions of the child and leads him to feel that you do not care for him. He reasons with himself that you could not treat him so if you cared.” And he’s right. And not only does he reason with himself regarding your love for him, but you represent Whom to him? Oh brothers, sisters, do you see what you’re telling him about his heavenly Father?
CG 249 “Be so calm, so free from anger that they will be convinced that you love them, even though you punish them.” “that you love them, even though you punish them.” Those are some of the essential prerequisites, for exercising correct disciplinary measures. We will go on in part two to consider this together. Shall we pray?
Father God, I thank you that you love us enough to punish us, to give us wisdom that we might see the cause/effect relationship between disobedience and suffering, before we go on in our blissful ignorance, to have our tendencies to evil confirmed in our hearts. Father, may we be like You, to our children, is our pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN.