May 17

I Chronicles 27:1-29:22; I Kings 1:1-27

Parenting (and grand-parenting) is hard work. You want your children to be good, to listen to what you say. But then those adorable eyes look up at you and that impish grin grabs your heart and… well, you know.

I Kings 1:6 is a verse all parents should study. David had never asked his son Adonijah why he behaved badly. It implies David may never have said no to his son or punished him for disobeying. Now Adonijah was rallying people against David and was making himself king of Israel.

I’m  going to say some things that are not popular in modern-day parenting circles. Parents need to teach their children that disobedience is a sin and the consequences of sin hurt. We need to teach our children to obey us so that they learn how to obey God.

My nephew’s two year old had a plastic bat and he was pretending to hit a ball with it. Then he began hitting the couch. His mommy said, “Colton do not hit the furniture with that bat. If you do it again I will take it from you”.

So this little one came over to Aunt Connie and grinned his adorable grin and gently tapped the chair I was sitting in. My niece came over, took the bat and said, “I told you no.” Colton looked at me with those big brown eyes, silently pleading that I would be his savior. I shook my head and said, “Mommy told you she would take the bat if you hit the furniture”. 

It would have been easy to ignore this little act of rebellion. In fact, I have to say it was kind of cute. (oops… that’s the great-aunt speaking). But if Colton’s mommy had not followed through, what lesson would he be learning?

I often told the teachers I worked with… what you allow, you teach. If you allow a child to get away with something you are teaching them it’s ok to do that thing. Is that really the lesson we want our children to be learning? Because Jesus never says disobedience is ok.

I certainly don’t defend beating a child. But I do defend a slap on the bottom or back of a hand if that child is willfully disobeying. That’s not “violence” as some would say. It’s discipline. There is a difference.

Like I said, being a parent is tough. And I certainly don’t have all the answers. But Scripture does. God wants you to raise children who honor him, who recognize sin as sin,  and who will obey him when he calls them to do something. Where are they going to learn obedience if not from you? From TV? From their friends? In the music they listen to?

And here’s the other side of teaching Godly obedience. We can be angry at our children’s disobedience, we can be disappointed. But we also need to teach them that their behavior does not effect our love for them. Remember, while we were still sinners Jesus died for us. A loving God disciplines. A loving parent disciplines, too.

As people who love the children in our lives, let’s determine to raise them to love God and obey him.

I’m praying for you.

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