Friday, April 30, 2010

I Threw a Tomato at the Wall Yesterday

Conversation overheard at a local high school:
“I threw a tomato at the wall yesterday, but my parents didn't do anything. Nothing I do anymore phases them.”
If we, as parents, do not set boundaries, then we are doing a disservice to our children. In fact, Solomon says we hate our children: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24; cf. 5:23, 6:23).

I am sure that many well-meaning parents have withheld the rod, listening too much to outside voices, thinking that by being lenient their children will come around. Unfortunately, this is not true. Solomon wrote, “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death” (Proverbs 19:18). Avoiding discipline is akin to putting your child to death.

One might ask how this could possibly be true? The answer is given a couple chapters later, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15; cf. 23:13). Original sin is a reality.

As Solomon said, there is hope. It is possible to raise children and have your heart full of delight. I am not unaware of the reality that our children’s hearts must be regenerated, but God uses means, and one of those means is discipline. Again, Solomon writes, “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart” (Proverbs 29:17).

My heart goes out to this child; she wants her parents to discipline her. I believe that the cry of her heart can be heard in that last simple sentence, “Nothing I do anymore phases them.” In other words, “I have tried. I can't seem to get their attention.”

Parents, discipline your children. They need you.

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