As parents, it can be so tough to discipline our kids. I remember when I was growing up, I was pretty convinced my parents enjoyed it. At least, it always seemed to be easier for them than it was for me. But that didn’t last long. As soon as I had to be in charge of a youth group, and be the one handing out discipline, I realized what an incredibly heavy burden it can become. Then later, as a father myself, it has only grown even tougher.
But I also know how important it is. I work with students every week who are not given enough discipline at home. They are allowed too much freedom, and given it too early. Parents, I promise, I understand how hard it is, how exhausting it is, how defeating it can feel. But it is SO incredibly important.
In 1 Kings 1, David is dying. One of his sons, Adonijah, decides he will be the next king. So he begins to set things up to make it happen. There is a very interesting set of verses in the story for us to look at:
“5 Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him.
6 (His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.) “
Do you catch what is going on there? David never disciplines his kid. This story is seen over and over in David’s family. The king who is called “a man after God’s own heart” doesn’t discipline his own kids. The one who took Goliath on head first, who built a world super power in a tiny land, who survived assassination attempts and countless wars, he chooses not to discipline his children. It’s understandable. He is giving his heart and attention to so many other things, he ignores his own families needs.
But at what cost? Three of his sons try to take his kingdom. They all die. One of his daughters is raped by one of his sons. His family is constantly in disarray. It’s horrible.
The same holds true today. We can short cut discipline because it’s hard, because we want to be cool and loved, because we don’t do it well, because it makes us feel icky, or a thousand other reasons. The truth is we are simply delaying the pain. It will come back, and it comes with interest added on.
I want to encourage all of us as parents; lovingly, carefully, thoughtfully discipline our children. Jesus tells us to make disciples of all nations. Deuteronomy six tells us it starts at home. The word disciple and the word discipline come from the same word.
If you want some resources to help with discipling your kids well, contact me or Evan Casey, our children’s pastor. We’ll point you to some good tools. If you love your kids, discipline them. God does, so should we.
Jason was the Chief Executive Officer of Outreach Inc, a non-profit in Indianapolis working with youth and young adults who are homeless.
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