Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rainy day play and thoughts on discipline

We had a tough morning. Something about the rain I think (to bring out the sin already inside). Why is it that a rainy day makes one so gloomy? When the boys asked if they could go out in the rain at noon I decided the wet clothes would be worth it. We needed a change of scenery. There is something about looking out at a rainy day that can be gloomy but when you actually go out in the rain there is something really special about it.
At any rate the boys had a blast riding their scooters around the n-hood while I re-focused and recovered from the morning.
One of the things I've realized is that Andrew for instance has not been well taught to obey, yet when he doesn't obey I get angry. This makes no sense! The child is naturally going to resist my will for his own and the only way to change this is to teach him that he must obey! This is an area that I struggle the most with my boys. The bible clearly teaches, "Children OBEY your parents in the Lord, for this is RIGHT." (Ephesians 6:1) I can't seem to consistently walk in the authority that God has not just given me but required of me.
The story of Eli the Priest and his sons is a constant conviction.
In 1 Samuel chapter 2 is the story. Basically, Eli was a Priest and his sons were responsible with helping with some of the temple duties. Verse 2:12 says, "Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the LORD or for their duties as priests." They would take the things that were brought by the people for sacrifice and use them for themselves. Verse 17 says, "So the sin of these young men was very serious in the LORD's sight, for they treated the LORD's offerings with contempt.
In verse 22 it says "Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle." He verbally urged his sons to stop sinning against God. A few verses later God prophesies that he will curse Eli and his sons.
In chapter 3 verse 11-14 it says, "Then the LORD said to Samuel, "I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family. I have warned him continually that judgment is coming for his family, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn't DISCIPLINED them. So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.
In chapter 4 it records the death of Eli's two sons in battle.
This story brings me to my knees. I fail to Shepard my children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" every day. Ephesians 6:4 states, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Definition of admonition:
1 : gentle or friendly reproof 2 : counsel or warning against fault or oversight
Definition of nurture:
New Websters:
Middle English norture, nurture, from Anglo-French nureture, from Late Latin nutritura act of nursing, from Latin nutritus, past participle of nutrire to suckle, nourish — more at nourish
14th century
1 : training , upbringing 2 : something that nourishes : food
1. to feed and protect: to nurture one's offspring.
2. to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster: to nurture promising musicians.
3. to bring up; train; educate.
Isn't it interesting that the word nurture comes form the word nourish as well as the same word for nursing. We are called by God to nourish our children, to protect them, to support and encourage them, to train them, to educate them.
God is a gentle God to his children. Now yes, his wrath won't be gentle. But his wrath is for those who aren't his own. Towards his own God is a Shepard, Gentle, Kind, Wise, always there to guide us and instruct us in the way we should go. Shepards at times have to break their sheeps legs to discipline them not to wander (which leaves them prone to attack or harm) and the Shepard will then carry the sheep with the broken leg around his shoulders for a while. That breaking of the legs, the pain of it, and the subsequent closeness and tenderness by the Shepard draws the heart of the sheep to the Shepard.
That is precisely what our discipline should do for our children. Draw their hearts closer to us. If we discipline in anger, if we shout, if we give the mean eyes, are we drawing their hearts towards us? This has been a wonderful sermon to myself. I'll have to come back and read it for daily conviction.
Why should I be angry at my children? I get angry because I don't want to be bothered. That is the honest truth. I don't want to be bothered with disciplining, training, teaching, nurturing, guiding them. This is so ridiculous. My children are just like me, fallen, prone to wander and to sin and they have a gentle and loving Savior just like I do. When I am gentle and kind in my discipline and when I am consistent to train the children as I'm called to, I reflect our Savior and I turn my children's hearts to my own and more importantly to His.

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