Submitted by: Igor Savinkin (Moscow, Russia)
And you have completely forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when reproved by Him; For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons. For what son is there whom the father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline of which all sons have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Hebrews 12:5-8)
As Christians we should have the proper view of how to raise our children according to the Bible, and part of raising children includes disciplining them. Since I might be visiting or moving to a country where parents are restricted from physically disciplining their children, I felt compelled to look into the Word to see what is mentioned about raising children, specifically in regards to using physical discipline if necessary. I am sharing what I enjoyed with you here.
First, a father disciplines his children out of his love for them. Hebrews 12:5-8 shows the need for a father to discipline his children, even warning that if we are not disciplined, we are not sons at all! Verse 6 says, “For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives,” indicating that this discipline may at times need to be physical punishment. Another verse which speaks to this point is 2 Sam. 7:14, which says in reference to Solomon, “If he commits iniquity, I will strike him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the sons of men.” Furthermore, Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him chastens him early.”
Second, according to Eph. 4:26-27 and 6:4, in disciplining our children we firstly need to set our anger aside. If we are not careful to do so, our anger may provoke them to the same anger and indignation (or, vexation – Eph. 6:4, note 1). Because parents too often act out of unbridled anger in the discipline of their children, governments in some countries even have to legally restrict parents from disciplining their children, supervise them, or separate them from the children. We must realize that although children need discipline, if we do so out of anger, vexation, or malice we can wound our children and engender the same unhealthy feelings in them.
We therefore need to see how to discipline our children without anger. Footnote of Eph. 6:4 says, “Provoking children to anger damages them by stirring up their flesh. Not to provoke his children to anger requires that a father deal with his anger by leaving it on the cross. In this way he is able to render suitable discipline to his children.” We see from this footnote that we do have a responsibility to render suitable discipline to our children. But to do so we must leave our anger on the cross, which is a part of the all-inclusive Spirit. So my responsibility is to be filled with the Spirit in my human spirit, thus the cross will automatically be applied to my stirred-up anger to put it to death. This is what Paul refers to in Eph 5:18 when he says that we should be filled in spirit! I realize that I do not always behave in this way, but when I fail I can turn to the Lord, repent, apologize to my family members, and recover the broken relationship with my kids.