“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. Job 5:17
Consistently disciplining our children is a difficult task but we are assigned to do it. Remember when our parents told us it was “for your own good?” They were right.
The Bible says that striking with the rod is what will save a child’s soul from Sheol (Hell, the abode of the dead). Most of us know this but find the practice of it difficult because of the societal misinterpretation of it as beating our children.
However, as we study the scriptures, our faith sees and understands that anything God tells us to do will be for our good and, ultimately, His glory. The child who is raised well, being loved and disciplined as needed, will be a happier, spiritually healthier, and a more well-liked and successful adult.
I recently read about five example forms of discipline that God employed at different times and for different people:
- Stern verbal rebuke. Strong words meant to convey a serious message. Consider John 8:11b,” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
- Denial – This is taking away or denying someone something they want. Numbers 20:12, And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”
- Withdrawal – God steps back and lets the person be alone without the benefit of His fellowship. Ezekiel 5:11, Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. (also Amos 8:11)
- Corporal Punishment – Spanking (considered different than beating, beating is abusive, spanking is a form of training). Proverbs 13:24, Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
- Disinheritance – This is quite serious and should only be considered for the hardest cases of rebellion. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Proverbs 28:10, Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
Let’s not be tempted to walk away from a disobedient child. Reconsider. Stay in the battle for his/her soul. Children are gifts from God and it is our job to train them up in the way they should go. Good discipline is the only way to do that.
But, we must remember the far side of discipline, too. Job 5:18 says, For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. Like God, when we discipline, we need to follow up, to see that there is healing and understanding.
The whole point of discipline is training in righteousness. When we lose that focus, we lose the lesson we should be teaching.