Friday, February 24, 2012

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Not long ago our family got in one of those uproarious "remember when" conversations. And the subject was various times that we had disciplined our children, and they were going way back. This took an hour and a half of them thinking back, "Remember the time you..." "Oh, yeah, that was hilarious!" We explained, for example, how we had always tried to discipline with natural consequences. You know, if you did something wrong with your mouth, you had to be quiet for a while. Or maybe in some cases have your mouth washed out. If you did something wrong with your hands, then you had to fold your hands; you forfeited the right to use them. At which point our oldest son said, "But I never did anything wrong with my bottom!" Which is where a lot of the disciplining took place. So much for natural consequences!

Well, that launched a discussion of great spankings we have known, including the ones that we were just now told didn't even hurt! They didn't tell us that at the time. Oh, listen, this whole thing went a long time. It was crazy! I mean, it was a laughing, loving, learning time for all of us, and a reminder of what might be a parent's biggest challenge.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Not So Grim Reapers."

Our word for today from the Word of God - Proverbs 19:18. "Discipline your son, for in that there is hope. Do not be a willing party to his death." That's a pretty sobering verse! It talks about hope for your child, it talks about death for your child, and it's saying that the hope for your child's future is your discipline of him. Well, why?

Well, in our world there is a law of the universe that our kids don't seem to believe. You can't change this law of the universe, but they don't act like they believe it. It's fundamental to the way things operate, Galatians 6:7 - "For whatever a man sows, he will reap." I don't know that a lot of kids really believe that there are consequences for what they do. First of all, they feel like you can avoid a lot of consequences. You can cover up what you've done, you can take precautions.

The other reason that it's tough to get our children to believe that what you sow you reap - is that often there's a delay between the wrong thing you do and the harvest you receive. Every farmer knows that you sow and reap, but he also knows there's a gap in between. During that gap our children may think they're not going to have to pay the bill. But the law is still true: you can't avoid the most serious consequences of all - God's judgment, lost innocence, lost reputation, lost trust, lost self-respect. Oh, you can postpone it, but you can't cancel it.

Now, my job as a parent is to get one simple message across, "When you do wrong, something bad happens." And you know how you get that message? There has to be consistent discipline to build children who believe in sowing and reaping. If they don't, they're going to make heart-breaking choices later on. It's good to try to discipline, as I mentioned earlier, with natural consequences, so that if you've done something wrong in a particular area of your life, it's in that area that you get restricted or punished. And to the best of your ability, be sure that the punishment fits the crime and that you discipline, not when you're angry, but after you've prayed and thought about the consequence that would teach the most; not what would just unload your anger.

Respond immediately, but don't wait a long time for the discipline. When a lot of time has passed, the lesson will be forgotten. Explain the discipline; explain why it's wrong. Be consistent, especially in the early stages of trying to establish a boundary in your child's life. Whatever you do, don't fail in this life-giving responsibility. Be sure your children learn from your discipline that whatever a man sows, he will reap.

There's some old expression that talks about "the grim reaper." Well, actually, what will be grim for your child is if he or she doesn't reap.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
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