Raise Them Right
Read Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Why should parents discipline and train their children in the instruction of the Lord?
Growing up, I didn’t like the discipline I received from my parents. In fact, I don’t know any children who do. However, I don’t know any children who don’t need any discipline. No human can be left to their own devices because we are all sinners. We have to be taught right from wrong or we will make selfish, destructive choices. My parents knew that I needed discipline.
Hebrews 12:6 says, “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” He disciplines us because He loves us. He wants us to grow and mature and be prepared to handle the responsibilities that He gives us for His kingdom work. He also knows the consequences of sin so He has warned us and put His commandments in place for our own protection.
Likewise, if we love our children, we discipline them. We want them to obey us because we know what is best for them. We train them up in the instruction of the Lord because we know that is the only way that they can be saved. We set boundaries and have rules for them because we don’t want them to experience the dangerous consequences of sin.
But the Bible does not condone parents lording their authority over their kids or abusing them. Paul says “do not provoke your children to anger.” That doesn’t mean that your discipline will never make your children angry. We all know that kids sometimes stomp off and throw fits when they don’t get their way.
The intent here is that parents understand that they are not to be abusive, domineering, unreasonable, or cruel. The purpose of discipline is to correct their misbehavior, instruct them in wise and godly living, and teach them to respect godly authority. We should point out their sin but we should also point them to their Savior.
Friends, children are to submit to the authority of their parents but parents are called to love and train their children well. It is a big responsibility. If you are a parent or caregiver of a child, spend some time in prayer today asking for help to discipline your children in a way that honors God.
Father, thank You for Your perfect example of how to be a parent. Help me to have a godly influence on the children in my life. Amen.