Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Difficult Matter of Discipline, Part 2




 Today's guest post was written by my good IRL friend, Abigail Zieger. Abigail blogs at The Birth Bug about all things pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting related. I was very excited to see the topic of her post, as discipline is just starting to be an issue for us with S. It is so much harder than I thought it would be as a parent to discipline with wisdom and grace, and to know how to handle things! I hope you are encouraged! You can read Part 1 here. Yesterday we left Abigail on the precipice of asking the most important question of all in regards to discipline...

 What does the Bible have to say about discipline?
  • Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life.
  • Proverbs 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
  • Hebrews 12:6-11 “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 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.
I could go on and on with verses. The Bible makes it pretty clear that discipline is meant to be a good thing that leads to joy and righteousness over time. Just as God disciplines his children, we, as parents, are also to discipline our own and raise them up in a way that points them to godliness.
Lest we begin to see God as a towering ogre, looking down from heaven for every possible opportunity to get us in trouble, we must look at His whole character as displayed in the Scriptures. To our great joy, we also see that God is compassionate towards his children, slow to anger, and rich in mercy.
  • Psalm 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
  • Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
Interestingly enough, the Scriptures don’t seem to equate the use of discipline with being harsh or frustrating towards your children.  For example, Colossians 3:21 specifically says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Similarly, Ephesians 6:4 exhorts, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
These words from Scripture helped us to swim through the sea of advice we were apparently drowning in. We began working on disciplining in a way that worked for our family and that was also in agreement with God’s Word. It’s not perfect, and believe me- our son still misbehaves often. And I definitely don’t know that I’m always doing the right thing- I’ve got a lot to learn! But we finally found a peace about the how of disciplining in our home. Would you like to know what we actually do at our house?

Too bad. I’m not going to say.

Your child is different from mine. Your personality is not my personality. Your husband is different that mine. You may have different priorities. I’m not going to tell you how to discipline your child. I’m not going to hand you a program or a formula to successful discipline. I won’t recommend any books to you, except for one: 

God’s Book.
You see, our peace comes from always coming back to Scriptures. So long as you are in line with God’s Word, there’s a lot of room for variance in the specifics of how to discipline. Always turn to the Bible first for God’s great example of how a father disciplines his children. Ask for wisdom and humility in this matter, and seek Him out diligently always.
What about you, mamas? What have you learned about discipline in your parenting journey? Please share!
All Scripture taken from the NASB version, found on Bible.org.

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