Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Keep them close to your heart!

Proverbs 29:17
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

Someone once told me the difference between discipline and punishment is that one draws a child closer to you and one is a pushing away. When I notice distance between myself and a child after being disciplined I must search my process and see if I was in sin.

This past weekend I really agonized over a particular incident with one of my children. It was clear that the child had disobeyed, but my heart was not at peace. I played the incident over and over in my head. In the midst of it, I asked Jason to help as I was not certain how to proceed. I know I'm speaking in generalities....But I want to be careful not to embarrass my children in this forum.

Nonetheless, my heart was not at peace. Though the disobedience was clear, I needed to ask the forgiveness of my child. I noticed how this child was distant to me and it made me realize that I had punished and not disciplined. When I asked forgiveness and we discussed what happened our relationship was restored.

I don't know if any of this makes sense without details, but I guess my point is that as parents we must be vigilant over our own hearts when dealing with the hearts of our children. We must be ready to apologize for our unkind words and actions. When we notice a child pull away from our affection we must look at our past behaviours with our children and be willing to be wrong. Our children need to see that they have parents that are needy, daily, for a Saviour. Parents able to come to them and the Lord for forgiveness. Parents who say, "I'm sorry, please forgive me." Parents willing to try again next time and not give up on discipline because it is hard.

I love the promise of the proverb....and he will give you rest. Even now, when I am disciplining as the Lord would have me, I have peace. I am also thankful for the unrest I had until I had dealt with my own heart. I'm so glad He isn't finished with me!

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