It ceases to amaze me how many people I know combine discipline with anger. When I challenge a Bible study or group of women that both discipline and kindness can exist together, I get looks of confusion.
Recently at a bridal shower I spoke to the issue of 1Corinthians 13 verse, "Love is kind." I challenged the women to love their husbands with kindness. It is kindness that will make an impact on our families much more than a rant. Roman 2:4 God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. When I sat down after speaking an older woman proceeded to speak poorly of her husband. I just sat in disbelief and exhaustion from having just spoken (it is taxing on ones spirit to share). She must have seen my dismay. She turned to me and said, "I'm just too old to learn." Is God truly that powerless?! I think not, because He changed my hard heart.
As kindness relates to parenting, ask yourself how your tone with your children is when you are frustrated? Do you snap when a mess is made? After disciplining your children, do they draw near to you or are they distant? Even in your toughest moments as a parent the Lord has an abundant supply of His kindness for you as you direct the hearts of your children.
As parents, it is our duty and God's plan for us to discipline. Kindness certainly never means ignoring the sins of our children. I am always humbled by the high calling of discipline when I read in 1 Samuel of Eli's refusal to discipline his sons. Here is what God had to say about it. It was the first thing He chose to speak to Samuel about.
Then the Lord said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."
I have often shared these scriptures while disciplining my children. To ignore the discipline of our children is a sin, and God longs for us to direct the hearts of our children. Many have gone before me to encourage me in my discipline, and I am continually learning and growing. Proverbs and Shepherding Your Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp have been the greatest encouragement to Jason and I. Our church actually went through the video series that goes along with the book. It's insight was tremendous. As parents, I believe it is easy to get hung up on the behavior of our children and miss dealing with their hearts. If I don't point my children to their own sinful heart, how will they ever see a need for a savior? And if my discipline is angry and harsh, how will they view discipline from God?
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
I pray for the Lord's discipline in my own life. I am ever grateful for the moments where His Spirit is dealing with my sinful, unkind heart. I fear the moment of His silence concerning my sinful nature.
Today is a day to love the hearts of our children with the Kindness from the Lord. Only then will we see change in the hearts of our children. If you struggle with anger in discipline I would love to encourage you. Not that I have attained all this, but I am striving to take hold of it.