Wednesday, July 12, 2023

PARENTING AND DISCIPLINE HELP: your kid slanders someone else.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
The Scenario. 
You have a child who has slandered one of his siblings to a friend. Consequently, the friends no longer want to hang out with this individual (for a particular activity on a particular day) because one of your children slandered one of his siblings.  You get words of it from another one of your children.  What do you do?  How do you respond?  

The Counsel to the Parent 
Maybe this has never happened to you, but it did happen in our family. This makes for a golden biblical counseling opportunity that opens the door fully for gospel proclamation.  Of course, the easy (and lazy!) path to take would be to sharply chastise the kid and say: “Don’t do that again!” Or worse, you could choose to do nothing about it (until, of course, he does it again). 

What do you do? 

When I got word that one of my children slandered a sibling to another friend and thus that friend no longer wanted to spend time playing with the particular individual any longer, I had a choice to make.  How would I handle this? 

I took the children who were involved in this situation and brought them downstairs and we sat on the couch together.  I had my Bible and I was ready to diagnose the heart, probe deeply, and minister gospel truth so they can put off sin and put on righteousness (ha!). If it only went always according to our plans. 

I asked the children what happened and let them speak of the situation.  After the first child shared, then I asked the other child to share.  After gathering information so as to understand the circumstance, I asked them if I understood the issue correctly. I wanted to ensure I was hearing them correctly. 

Then, I opened my Bible and took them to the importance of our words from Matthew 12 and how our words reveal our heart (Matt 12:34). I then read for them Colossians 3:5 how Paul tells the believers to put sin to death — and one of the sins that must be mortified includes the sin of slander.  I talked about how this is God’s command to believers. 

I showed how the sin of slander comes from a proud heart that is unwilling to have a loving conversation with the individual to their face but rather takes the easy route of speaking “about them” — and doing so behind their back. I said: God hates slander and it is never helpful, nor useful, nor kind. 

Then, we ended with Colossians 4:6 where God tells the believers to let their speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.  In going to all these Scriptures, I was able to show them their sin and how they fell short of what God requires. They did not obey Him. They sinned against God. I pointed this out. 

After showing them their sin, calling them to repent, and exposing their need for Christ and His forgiveness, I told the child who slandered to write out for me Colossians 4:6 on a piece of paper. However, it had to be word-perfect, clear, legible, and they should memorize it in the process.  

In dealing with the situation in this way, I was able to take a child who sinned by slandering his neighbor and open the Bible and show how God’s Word exposes the evil and proud heart in the sin of slander. Then, after exposing the sin and calling for repentance and showing that the only hope is found in Jesus Christ, they had a discipline. It was a discipline for writing out the verse word for word and then returning that hand-written verse when it’s complete.  Once the child did so, I hugged them and reassured them of my love for them.
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