Wednesday, August 30, 2017

DISCIPLINE & SPANKING in Parenting
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Every godly parent loves his child and ultimately wants what’s best for him and for his eternal well-being. Parents long for their children to trust in Christ alone for salvation! God’s Word provides the only sufficient, eternal, authoritative, divine guidelines for parenting our children. That is to say, other resources can prove to be helpful and inspiring but God’s Word is authoritative, God-breathed, and wholly sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and godliness, including parenting. So, what does Scripture have to say about discipline and spanking?

The Apostle Paul says that parents must “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6.4). God also says in the Old Testament that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;  The rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Prov 22.15). Furthermore, God most clearly commands us as parents “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” (Prov 23.13-14). God says that “the rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother” (Prov 29.15). Then God instructs parents: “Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will delight your soul” (Prov 29.17). Why all this? Because our children need to be guided to understand that sinful decisions that their heart makes have consequences. Remember, the heart of the nonbeliever rages against the Lord (Prov 19.3). And so parents live by faith when we discipline our children because God says that the rod of discipline will remove that folly far from him (as the parent provides gentle, loving, biblical reproof as well seeking to get at the heart).

So your child has sinned. Your precious little one has disobeyed God, defied you, transgressed God’s Word, and you’ve now taken your child into the discipline room. Then what? What do you do? What do you say? How do you discipline & point to Christ? How can you be firm with truth & tender with compassion?

This is a brief template that seeks to provide practical wisdom in assisting parents in the discipline and instruction of small children.

1. Gather the facts. —  Ask questions of the child (as much as you’re able with the younger ones) such as: "what happened?" or “tell me what’s going on.” This way you seek to understand the situation (even if you saw it) and you’re allowing them to speak and give their account of the event.

2. Reach the heart. — Then, whatever happened to them, you ask "how did you respond?” or “how did that make you feel?”  “what did you choose to do in that moment when it happened?” Then you can ask: “Why?” All of these questions intentionally target the heart. We want to reach the heart.

3. Expose the sin. — At this point, regardless of what’s happened, it’s vital to specify the sin. Perhaps the child manifested a heart of selfishness, a desire for control, an outburst of anger, not considering others as more important than themselves, etc. The goal is to clearly expose the sin.

4. Prove it biblically. — Ideally, we as Christian parents should have an open a Bible and show the child where in the Scriptures they have sinned against God. This is crucial so the child knows he didn’t ultimately sin against mom or dad but first and foremost against God. This is where godly parents need to constantly study the Word and hide it in our hearts so that we can bring biblical truth to the child’s heart regularly & specifically.

5. Give the discipline. — The sin has been committed. The facts have been gathered. The heart has been exposed (as much as possible). The sin has been clearly stated and biblically proven. The child is guilty and has disobeyed God. Now the parent must use the rod. The goal is to bring enough pain for the child to see the error in what he’s done but, of course, the discipline is not to bring harm or bruising to the child. Using the rod must be done in a private location and it must be firm. Whether it’s one swat or two or three on the rear-end (an area that’s not exposed and easily covered up), the parent must choose to obey God and use the rod when the child has sinned. Parents must choose to obey God rather than follow culture on spanking. Culture calls it “harming/abusing the child.” God calls it: “saving your child’s soul from death!” Choose to follow God! Use the rod.

6. Express tender love. — Immediately when the discipline has occurred and the child is saddened by the pain, hold the child, hug the child, affectionately place the child on your lap, and verbally tell them: "I love you!” This tender love and physical and verbal reassurance is important.

7. Give the gospel. — Now is the glorious opportunity to say: “do you know why I did this? You've sinned. And our God is holy. You're a sinner, just like daddy (or, mommy)…” The Law has exposed the sin. The child has received a discipline for the offense. Now bring the balm of the gospel and the hope of Christ. The glorious benefit of this consists in parents having many opportunities (even daily, at times!) to present the gospel to their children who have sinned. Yes, our God hates sin and sees our sinful hearts! But God sent His Son to take the “eternal discipline” that we deserve. Compel your children to trust in Jesus! Sinners are saved by faith — childlike faith — in Jesus as Lord & Savior! Show them Christ’s glory, worth, work, and hope! Never underestimate the power of a faithful father who disciplines when he’s home and able and a faithful mother who disciplines in the home and how many gospel occasions this presents with the child. O may God use Christian homes to save children at young ages for His glory and renown.

8. Pray with them. — When all has been done and said, don’t forget to pray for them and with them. Still keeping the child on your lap and embracing him in your arms, pray for God to save them. Then, move on tenderly, lovingly, caringly, affectionately, and prayerfully.

For young children in the home that must learn that there are painful consequences to sinful choices, God’s prescribed method of discipline is employing the rod. We as parents must never use the rod out of anger, frustration, or in a manner of lashing out at the children for a foolish choice they made. Rather, parents must all learn from God who disciplines those whom he loves and he scourges every son that he receives (Heb 12.5-6). Indeed, godly parents discipline for a short time as seems best and long for the time when it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb 12.11). Out of love, parental love, God-like love, as you love your children, discipline them and declare the gospel to them. Or, as Paul puts it: bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6.4).

More resources found at the parenting link.

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