Tuesday, July 11, 2023


PARENTING & DISCIPLINE HELPS: practical scenarios 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 

In this post, I will post a hypothetical scenario about a child that disobeys his parents in a certain way. Then, I will share some counsel as to what the parent can do in that moment to discipline with firm consistency and with gospel-grace.

The Scenario 

My 3 year old did not stay in their room as I told them to do. 

Let’s say you have a young child and you have put them in their bed with the clear command: Do not come out. Maybe it is a quiet laying down rest time for a part of the afternoon or it could be that you lay them down for sleep at night. Either way: you have given the command to the child to stay in the bed and not to come out. And so you leave and you begin your tasks until a short bit of time passes by and you hear, “Mom…” or “Dad…” and then they proceed to share that they want water. But a bit later on, their bedroom door opens and they come walking out after you gave them the clear instruction to stay in their bed and not come out. As the child gets older, he will skillfully make his case as to why he just ‘had’ to come out even though you gave him unarguably clear instructions. The child has sinned against God and against you because he did not obey his parents. What do you do? 

The Counsel to the Parent 
 Perhaps this has never happened to you (ha!) or maybe it happened just last week or yesterday! Either way, maybe you can relate. This is a familiar scenario in our household. 
The child has sinned and needs to be reproved, disciplined, and evangelized. The child has sinned because he disregarded your clear verbal instruction about staying in the bed. Whether or not the kid is thirsty or has to go to the bathroom or wants a new toy or a different book is irrelevant. The child chose to sin by getting up out of the bed and walking out of the room. Your command was not obeyed. 
Rather than giving them a warning, or loudly shouting: “go back to your bed!” there’s a better way. And the better way is to take the time, however inconvenient it may be to you in that moment, and lovingly discipline them with the rod and verbally expose their heart of selfishness and disobedience to God and then give them the hope of the gospel and call them to trust in Jesus. 
They must be told that they sinned (Ephesians 6.1). They did not do what God told them to do in obeying Dad and Mom. Thus, because they wanted something and thought that something (anything!) was really important (indeed: more important) than obeying God in that moment, whatever reason/excuse they provide is just exposing their heart. They wanted that thing more than they wanted to please God and obey you. Thus, they sinned. 
So the child should be spanked. The parent should take the rod, take the child into a private room and administer the discipline with firmness, with love, and with self-control. By the way, the younger the child, the more immediate the spanking should be (rather than allowing it to wait until the end of room time, or the end of the day, etc.).
Why all of this? Why the time and the effort? Why the probing of the heart? Why make it a big deal when the kid just came out of the room to go to the bathroom?  Why? Because the child disregarded your authority and thus God’s clear instruction and chose to do what he wanted to do (James 4.1-2).
But praise God, in His mercy, God has provided another evangelism opportunity within the context of the home. You discipline your child, swoop them up in arms of love and tell them how much you love them and how much more God loves them! You say that their corrupt and sinful heart has led them into error and yet there is hope in a mighty Savior who changes hearts and forgives sin! 
It may seem like just “another” opportunity during the day for a child to go back to his room after he disregarded your parental command, but it actually proves to be another God-given opportunity for in-home evangelism for you to minister grace to the guilty soul by giving the gospel to them. 
Parent, this surely demands time and energy. And it often disrupts your plans and your moments of quietness that you had planned. But it’s worth it. Proclaiming the gospel is always worth it. God has given another occasion for you to die to self and live to righteousness and love your child in the best way of gospel proclamation ...  again!
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