“Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.” Proverbs 19:18
Do you know that the translation of “on his destruction” means the same thing as “putting him to death”? As a parent I don't think any of us desire to put our children to death. (OK, maybe fleeting thoughts have crossed our minds a time or two in the past.) But since the birth of each of my children I have realized how great the meaning is behind the verse that says, “love covers a multitude of sins” is, and how that love has compelled me to correct my children instead of desire to destroy them.
How then can a parent become so side-tracked and nonchalant about the wayward sins of their child that they do bring destruction upon him/her? I have to think that parenting without discipline is far from a conscious choice a parent makes, but rather a pattern that is easy to fall into. Often times lackadaisical parenting has to do with our own sinful natures. We are tired, busy, and distracted by our own selfish pursuits (of course that we are told we deserve), and yet in giving time and energy to things that only please us we destroy our children in what we fail to do over what we have made time to do. Yes, destruction cannot only happen through our actions – it can also happen through our in-actions.
I have to admit to all of you, that I am as guilty as the rest in letting things slide at times with my children because the energy is just not there to confront what needs to be confronted. But, I have noticed those things I have not fought the fight against in truth and love have usually come back to hurt my child and some times even our whole family. And for that reason on top of the commands God gives me to discipline my children, I have become more aware of my need to say “no” to myself so I can say “yes” to them as long as they are still willing and able to listen to my correction.
Children are mold-able for only so long. As a parent we hope that they will forever want to know what we think and hear what truth we have to bring into their lives, but that is not always the case. The heart of a child is teachable by the parent for the most part as long as the parent is engaged and shows how much value they put in the parent-child relationship. I have seen my children continue with mold-able hearts towards my husband and me even now in their teen years because we have made relationships with them priorities and have not been overly condemning regarding the poor choices they have made in the past.
Godly parenting in a nutshell can be described as follows: Truth in love; love covering sin; sin seen as sin and the reality of the human condition; the human condition seen in the shadow of the cross; the grace of the cross extended towards each of us so that we can extend it towards one another; and relationships between one another that allow us to love so much that we take the time to teach truth and not let the opportunities slide into the background of life.
May the love of God abound in your home today and every day as you seek to discipline your children while there is still hope.