"Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves." (Proverbs 19:18 NCV)
We all need correction at times, because no one is perfect. If I don't discipline my kids, it means two things:
I'm willing to participate in their destruction. Proverbs 19:18 says, "Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves" (NCV). If I don't take the time to correct my kids and teach them new habits and the right way to behave and think, I'm actually setting them up to fail and be destroyed. Even worse, refusing to take the time to discipline our children is evidence of a lack of love in our heart. We don't think of it that way. Sometimes we're just too tired to fight another battle. But that reveals that we're putting our needs ahead of our child's needs. We need to take the time to discipline our kids.
How can we correct them in a way without condemning them?
Don't correct in anger. Ephesians 6:4 says, "Don't keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with loving discipline, with suggestions and godly advice" (LB). When I'm frustrated and angry with my kids, it feels good to let out that frustration; that release is an instant solution. But it does nothing for the long-term problem, and it strains the relationship between my kids and me. Instead of disciplining in anger, back away, calm down, get yourself under control, then come back and deal with the problem.
Watch your words. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that built up" (GN). Harmful words create hurtful memories. Those words that are spoken in anger and belittle our weaknesses and our faults and our failings are like knives in the heart. You don't want to leave harmful words in your family's memories. Instead, choose your words carefully, and speak in love.
A Parent's Prayer
Make this your prayer today and every day: "I will try to walk a blameless path, but how I need Your help especially in my own home, where I long to act as I should" (Psalm 101:2 LB).
Rick Warrenis the founding pastor of Saddleback Churchin Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.