Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24
Today’s reading of Proverbs could not have come at a more opportune time (see today’s posting regarding my next resolution).
My parents used to quote this verse every time they disciplined me or my younger siblings. Eventually, we would be reciting that in our minds when we had done something wrong. I remember the moment I decided that that verse was the most evil verse in the Bible. How could God give parents such a verse?
Discipline is not fun. But to grow up to be the person God desires, discipline is necessary. After seeing the way the group of kids I hung out with in highschool were raised, I envied those whose parents didn’t seem to care. They didn’t have a curfew, they weren’t interrogated each time they come home, they never seemed to get into trouble. What a life!
But the truth is that those parents didn’t truly love their teenagers. True parental love requires discipline. Parents who love their children want the very best for them. They realize that their kids have tons of potential, and when they follow God’s will, they will turn out to be awesome.
But parents who love their kids also realize that they are sinful, rebellious creatures who will make some wrong choices and do things that are not in their best interest. At these times, parents must teach their kids that wrong choices have consequences. If discipline is not used, then the child develops bad habits and attitudes.
Parents can fall into two extremes. Some parents don’t discipline their children at all. Most of these kids grow up doing whatever they want no matter how bad they hurt others or mess up their own lives. Other parents are so strict that there is little love mixed in. These kids learn how to toe the line, but often fall off the deep end when they get out of their parents home. The best balance is discipline applied with love. A parent who expresses love to their children at all times, and sometimes shows that love with discipline.
God has given parents the role of raising their children, but they also are earthly representatives of their heavenly Father. This means that children’s attitudes toward God will be shaped by the way their parents love and discipline them. A big job! This is why God gave us Proverbs.
See last post for more details. And…are you being the parent God calls you to be today?