Grace is out the window…

Two things are necessary for the proper teaching of children: a right attitude and a right foundation. An atmosphere of destructive criticism, sarcasm, condemnation, unrealistic expectations and fear will “provoke a child to wrath”. No sound teaching can take place in such an atmosphere. Whereas, a positive atmosphere would be rich in tenderness, patience, listening, affection, love and encouragement. In a positive atmosphere, parents can sow into the lives of their children the foundation of the knowledge of God. Deut. 6: 5-7 “…and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” The heart was considered the “seat” of the mind and will. Proverbs 13:24 “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” The literal translation of “promptly” in this scripture means “early”. God has a plan for family order and corrective discipline of our children. Discipline is the other side of teaching. A child with a teachable spirit will still need thorough explanation, much patience, opportunity to try and experiment, including the right to fail and learn by that failure. However, a child who exercises willful disobedience closes off effective teaching and disrupts the harmony of the family. This principle or concept does not originate with my personal opinion or beliefs. This is God’s written word and instruction for parents. It is a mandate. God’s answer to this is firm and loving discipline. As christian parents we can not pick and choose which scriptures in the bible to accept and which ones to turn our heads and ignore or try to refute. Well we can, but, the absence of us being willing to acknowledge or accept the revelation does not negate that it is still the infallible Word of God. It’s still there and nothing has changed just because we may choose not to seek the revelation that comes with it. It is a part of our human nature to want to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to certain things in life that we do not understand or have fear of. We do this because with the revelation comes the accountability. In our minds and reasoning we believe that God is going to require something of us that we are not willing to do or let go of!

The bible makes a clear distinction between discipline and physical abuse. Discipline should never be injurious and we are never to inflict harm on a child. The bible says that God describes Himself as a strict disciplinarian. His correction may cause us pain, but He always disciplines us out of love and for our benefit… Hebrews 12:5-11. The bible teaches that far from neglecting us, He shows Himself to be a true Father in the experience of discipline. Such treatment is not administered harshly, but in love, with the intention of bringing us into spiritual maturity. Sometimes God will use adverse circumstances as instruments to accomplish His purpose. Likewise, He requires us to get an early start on properly correcting our children. By disciplining our children in a Godly manner, the bible says that we can literally alter their eternal destination in life! (Proverbs 20:14)  Proverbs 29:15 states “…discipline and correction give wisdom but a child left to himself brings his mother shame.” As parents, we have to teach our children to trust our love for them and our discernment and wisdom to make decisions on their behalf. We need to teach them to conform their will to what we believe to be the best for them at that particular moment of their life until a time of which they reach maturity or “age of accountability”. The decisions that we make on their behalf will insure their safety, health, peace of mind and provide enriched experiences from which to build life-coping skills.

Our Heavenly Father administers grace to us and likewise, we should exercise an age-appropriate measure of grace towards our children. There eventually comes a time though,  where accountability is inevitable. Choices that they will make will either incur blessing and promote peace or end up in consequences and remorse. Grace is good but, upon a child clearly displaying a rebellious heart and attitude, THEN… “grace is out the window” and it is time to redirect their will. Grace is a great blessing that should never be presumptuously taken for granted. In other words, we should never believe or teach that we can purposefully sin and presume that grace is going to cover us every time. Some bad choices in life can be turned around, and others, we do not get the chance to make it right. Children need to be taught to be attentive when being addressed in order to receive instruction. Then they must learn to exercise age appropriate self control to follow simple directions and gradually learn to master more complex directions which challenge their thought process and physical ability. If a child is not taught and required to obey simple directions, likewise they may choose not to obey when you tell them not to run out in the street, not to ingest good tasting things out of the medicine cabinet without permission, etc. Sometimes, we are not afforded the luxury of getting a second chance. Sometimes, the outcome is heart wrenching and incur unbearable consequences. That’s why it is vital to their learning to be taught the importance of obedience and even prompt obedience. Sometimes with obedience, time is of the essence! Upon giving our children a Godly foundation, we are exercising our faith, believing God’s word to be true AND His ability and will to see it through to the end. Just like we expect our children to trust our love for them, we should be trusting the Lord to honor His word and love for us!

Consider it this way:

We are living in an age where technology is growing phenomenally. Most children are so knowledgeable about electronics that they can navigate hand-held games, cell phones and computers more efficiently than we can! Most of those electronics are designed to have a reset button. They can crazily “trick-out” and customize their electronics to suit their fancy and whims. Sometimes they get so crazy with all of that, something conflicts with everything else and BOOM something goes awry! Now their really cool toy is “locked up” or is going haywire! Even young children are knowledgeable of the reset option in order to restart or return the device back to the manufacturer’s settings. This takes the device back to a “beginning” or a “stable state of being” and lets them start over. “Dusting pockets” is a Godly means of discipline that finds that reset button which is wired to the brain and the heart (mind and will). Remember, the experience of failure causes the brain to re-wire itself and tend to our mistakes. This is where learning comes in. Upon the insistent willful disobedience of a child, after instruction AND grace, correction and discipline now need to be administered. This implies, “Whoops, a speed bump in progress…let’s go back to this point, start over and help you see how, where and why your train jumped the track.” Done properly, this gets the undivided attention of the child and identifies to them where and how they made their mistake. It keeps them on course and on the task at hand. They also need to learn to persevere until that task has been completed. Godly learning just took place! Praise the Lord!

God’s plan for training up our children will bring unlimited blessings, peace and harmony to our homes and everywhere your children go they will be a living testimony of the love and goodness of God. You will not HAVE to share with anyone what your beliefs are. They will see it in your children even before you can open your mouth. Their manners, respect & consideration they display towards others and appearance will speak volumes. Instilling these characteristics in our children automatically earns them favor in life and opens the door for opportunities that otherwise may not have been made available to them. Even by the world’s standards, the corporate world and many others recognize this.

We should be rising every day of our lives with joy and great expectations of what that day is going to hold for each of us individually and collectively as a family. When living a Godly life of obedience, we should then expect to reap the blessings that the Lord bestows upon us. Ministry begins in the home. So what if we have an important title at work? If we are a non-attentive, non-caring or negligent parent at home with the people we claim to love…then exactly how do we rate in God’s eyes? Are we exercising Godly stewardship over the blessings that He has given us OR are we purposefully choosing worldly alternative means and standards to raise our children? We should strive for and desire to be found as the faithful steward that Jesus taught about in the parable. We are all going to give an accounting for the seeds we have sown into our children’s lives. I would much rather plead “guilty” to the Lord for being over protective than being found lacking…..”Yes Lord, I did not let them go to that friend’s house or that party.” They will not be scarred for life! The flip side of that would be…”Lord, I’m sorry for not taking time to discern that situation or consult with you for wisdom before I made a decision to let them ride off with …I was really busy at the moment…I’m sorry I let that happen to them…” Sometime moments come in our lives when we get an epiphany.

Epiph-a-ny: 1) a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something. 2) an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple or striking.\ 3) an illuminating discovery or revealing moment.

I would much rather get an epiphany NOW about what God expects out of me as a christian and parent, than be found lacking when that time of accountability comes. I do not want to be willfully guilty of “pulling the dumb card” because I am fearful that God will require something out of me that I’m not capable of delivering. It’s not God’s nature to set us up for failure but to set us up for success and victory. I want the revelation of what God desires for me here and now. I do not desire to stumble through life sorrowfully being subjected to the world and satan’s plan for my demise with the idea that all will pan out in the sweet by-n-by. Not only do I want to be victorious in this life to the end, I want to enjoy the journey! God wants us to desire this and to claim it for our children and children’s children! Out of our love for our children, we should want them to experience all the same blessings and victories. We need to be diligent to seek the Lord for wisdom on how to make that happen. Faith requires action. Disciplining our children in a Godly way is exercising faith that God will honor His word.

If you had an issue with an appliance or piece of equipment, you would consult your Owner’s Manual in order to troubleshoot and solve the problem. If you still could not resolve the problem, you would then result to holding the manufacturer accountable according to the written warranty or guarantee that came with it. Parents and friends, God is the Creator and manufacturer of all life. The bible is His written warranty and guarantee to us that insures success even to the point of our children being saved from an eternity in hell. I do not just want to influence my children now for appearance sake. I want to impact their lives enough even to the point of insuring they spend eternity with the Lord. The act of choosing this lifestyle for our families will impact not only us but to include everyone we come in contact with. Our families will be a living confirmation, example and testimony to the world that God exists and He loves them. In the meantime, we can live a life with many fond memories, keep our joy and enjoy the journey together. God bless you!

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