Biblical discipline is an expression of God’s love and mercy to his children. As God lovingly, gracefully disciplines us, we as parents are to give this same warm discipline to our children. It is huge that you, as a parent, see discipline as something that is positive and not punitive. Discipline is not about retribution or getting even. Discipline has the goal of producing peace. Without that goal, discipline becomes a manipulative tool that will only provide separation with your children.
It is just as huge that you administer discipline with pleasant, even words. This is because it is pleasant words, and not anger, that promotes instruction:
Pleasant words promote instruction (Proverbs 16:20-24).
Angry words will not produce and promote the life that God desires (James 1:20).
Parents should not discipline to manipulate kids into better behavior. Christian parents are to discipline in faith, out of love for God, as God has directed so that he is honored. Pleasant, direct, gentle words are the tools God has designed to transform your parenting into an art form of grace, beauty, and power.
God is in control, not the child. And, even more importantly, you as a parent are not the ultimate authority: God is! The underlying component in epic discipline is faith. You discipline because your confidence lies in things that are unseen, in the truth of God’s word. By faith, God can bring about the needed changes in your children. By faith, he can bring about the changes needed in you. You can be content and trust God that he will honor your faith in him as you purse discipline and peace!
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.