Training Through Discipline

If parents are to bring up children in the Lord, they must instruct them in regard to the truth. However, instruction alone is not enough. Even setting the right example (which we noticed in the previous lesson) is not enough. Sometimes corrective discipline is necessary. The wise man said, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).

Bringing Up Children in the Lord (cover)In order to understand how to administer discipline, we must understand what “the rod of discipline” is. Though this may not require that parents use a literal rod, they are to use something (a hand, a belt, etc.) that can inflict pain. It may result in the children “crying” (Proverbs 19:18, KJV) and produce “stripes that wound” (Proverbs 20:30). These passages do not justify child abuse, which would be sinful, but are meant to show that discipline should cause some pain for the child so as to reinforce the instruction given by the parents.

It is important that discipline is carried out in love, not in anger. Discipline that is rooted in anger and hatred results in abuse. Discipline that is rooted in love is the type of correction that is commended to us in Scripture. Notice what the Hebrew writer said as he compared earthly fathers with our heavenly Father: “For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:10-11). Discipline must be done for the long-term good of the child, not as a way for parents to vent their anger or blow off steam.

The goal of discipline must always be to direct the child in the way of truth. “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 23:13-14). Discipline must be administered in order to reinforce the instruction that is given.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Bringing Up Children in the Lord. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

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