21 February 2010
Shepherding a Child's Heart: The Rod & Appeal to the Conscience
This is my Ju Ju Bean in her room on our rocker where we read bedtime stories...I love her hair at bedtime! Oh, Julia, you just have no idea how much mommy and daddy love you my dear!
Chapter 11: Embracing Biblical Methods: The Rod
Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
I believe God's word is true. That means ALL of God's Word. Not just some verses here and there. I believe Jonah got swallowed by a big fish(or whale). I believe Noah built an ark and put two of each kind and there was a huge flood for 40 days. I believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead on the third day. I believe that Jesus is God. And so, I believe that God has required that parents discipline their children with the "rod" or spank, or whatever term you use because I believe we are born with sinful, wicked hearts, and without correction, without guidance from our parents, without discipline, without the grace and the salvation of Jesus, we would die in our sins. God said it so I believe it! So, when people pick parts of the Bible to agree with and disagree with to follow and not to follow, I believe that is disobedience because God doesn't say, "Choose the parts you like!" In fact, God knew disciplining and training our children would be difficult. In Hebrews 12: 11 It says, "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Having to spank your child in love at the right time, with the right measure, is very difficult, but because you love your child you know that it will yield good fruit in their lives.
It is not popular to spank. Just watch the news and parent shows like Supernanny...the world says spanking is barbaric and cruel discipline. Any hitting done in anger is cruel and wrong. But spanking your child when you are calm and in love is totally different.
All children are born sinners and the rod remedies their "folly" condition. Proverbs 29:15 teaches that the rod is designed to impart wisdom. Done in anger is not the biblical use of the rod. The rod resuces children from the path of destruction that they are already on. Our world says that all children need is information and knowledge and then they will behave...but that is not biblical. As christians we believe there is a heart issue...our hearts our sinful and therefore the rod drives the foolishness out of a child's heart. I'm not saying it is easy...timeouts are easy, but spanking the biblical way is very hard work.
Chapter 12: Embracing Biblical Methods: Appeal to the Conscience
Jesus used appealing to the conscience with many of his parables in the gospels. In Matthew 21: 23, 33, 45 (parable of two sons, parable of the tenants, the heart is smitten) you see how Jesus is giving the Pharisees or his audience a parable to answer the questions of right and wrong.
Isn't it beautiful that God has given all of us a conscience so that we can reason about the issues of right and wrong? We need to use our children's conscience as an ally while raising them. Romans 2:14-15 says, "for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.
Tedd Tripp says, "Your most powerful appeals will be these that smite the conscience." He gave a story of a boy who stole from the offering plate. The boy was taken to the pastors office with the father and had to confront the pastor about what he did. He handed over 2 dollars and the pastor went on to talk about how it was a good thing he was caught. How it was so merciful of God that his sin was found out and that he didn't get away with it because when we get away with sin it traps us...and on and on he went...well in a few minutes the boy had tears running down his face, and handed over a twenty dollar bill. What happened? The pastor's words appealed to his conscience. He was wrestling with what to do right or wrong, and decided to do what was right. Praise God.
Tedd Tripp says, "To see them deal with the issues of their God-ward orientation you must take correction beyond behavior to addressing the issues of the heart. You address the heart by exposing sin and appealing to the conscience as the God-given adjudicator of right and wrong." See the Pastor didn't yell or scream, or say "How could you!" or give him a guilt trip...no he appealed to the conscience, he talked about all of our sin nature, how God is gracious to our sin by exposing it...and the child responded.
"The central focus of child rearing is to bring children to a sober assessment of themselves as sinners. They must understand the mercy of God, who offered Christ as a sacrifice for sinners."
This means seeing past the bad behavior and focusing on the heart issue. This means talking with your child...wow, lots and lots of prayer and hard work are ahead of us guys! But God is always faithful to guide us and give us wisdom!