The results of NOT Disciplining Children the Bible way!

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The disastrous consequences of parental indulgence is dramatically illustrated in the lives of three of God's great servants, Eli, Samuel, and David. Eli's sin, so serious that it caused God to condemn his house forever, was that "his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not" (I Samuel 3:13). Those boys' conduct was so offensive that worshipers began to hold the Lord's sacrifice in contempt (I Samuel 2:17).

Israel rebelled against God because Samuel's sons did not follow in their father's footsteps, but were intent on their own profit, taking bribes and perverting the course of justice (I Samuel 8:3-5). Adonijah, David's handsome son, rebelled and attempted to usurp the throne in David's old age because, never in his life had his father corrected him or asked why he behaved as he did (I Kings 1:6). Termination of a priestly dynasty, Israel's rejection of God, and treason in the royal family all were the results of the failure of some of God's greatest servants to discipline their children. It seems incredible-that men so close to God would be careless in the discipline of their children. Parents must keep their priorities straight. Nothing must become so all consuming that we fail our children.

Today, parents are bombarded by a battery of authorities, doctors, and psychologists, government day-care advocates, and other experts who leave the impression that we know absolutely nothing about rearing our own children. To be sure, we can all use help..... but Christian parents must not be intimidated to the point of relinquishing their God-given responsibility to guide their children on the straight and narrow course of life (Proverbs 29:15-17).

A child who lives without parental discipline is doubly cheated. First, he is being taught to be self-centered. Secondly, he is subconsciously learning that his parents are not genuinely concerned about him. Parents who really love their children provide the necessary discipline to cause them to grow into well-adjusted adult life.

It is essential for a child to know that his parents care about his behavior; that the way he thinks and acts really matters to them. God shows love for his children by disciplining them. The Bible says, "Whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth" (Proverbs 3:12). Our children will sense that discipline implies love.

We will make mistakes. Not being infallible, we have to rear our children according to the light we have. Hindsight often reveals that a certain discipline was not best. But that does not nullify the judgement that some sort of discipline was necessary.

Parents who ignore their child's misbehavior will receive disrespect in return, resulting in further patterns of misbehavior. Repeated neglect of disciplinary action will have tragic lifetime consequences (Proverbs 29:15-17).

Training of children is not primarily the responsibility of the psychologist, the church, or the school. It is primarily the responsibility of parents (Ephesians 6:4). We render a doubtful service to God and mankind if we save the whole world, yet lose our own children. Remember Eli, Samuel and David. After all, not only are they our children, they are also God's. He will help us make them what he would have them be.

The real answer then, is neither the iron-handed approach, nor the permissive indifference which seeks to justify itself with a barrage of high sounding excuses, but rather the positive, yet firm hand which love demands.

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