I think every parent has had one of those moments when you stop and go, “Why didn’t somebody warn me about this?” I know I have them. Sometimes they’re the “how can that much of that come out of one kid?!” moments. Other times, they’re the “I didn’t realize that would fit there” moments. But that’s not what I’m thinking about tonight.
I’m talking about those “this is going to hurt me way more than it hurts you moments.” Nobody warns you of just how hard it is to discipline the ones you love. No one really fills you in on just how much that’s going to hurt…for you, not them. Maybe it’s because we wouldn’t believe them if they did tell us?
At any rate, I had one of those moments today. My lovely wife, carrying my third baby (and 1st boy, by the way!) experienced what I’d call an intensely trying day with our 5 year old. From the first stroke of the pencil this morning as they did school, to a trip to the store in a “maybe a change of scenery will help this” last-ditch effort (it didn’t), my precious wife and daughter were at odds.
My eldest is sharp as a tack, but she’s also as bullheaded as her daddy. And she’s taken it upon herself to throw a little attitude back at her mom from time to time (she very rarely gives me the same treatment, which just exacerbates the whole situation), and by this afternoon, my bride had, justifiably so, had enough. After the umpteenth text/call about it, I decided to sprint home before church service and deal with this myself.
You see, being a kid, I can handle. Drama, I can handle. Not wanting to do what their told, I can even handle that. But attitude and disrespect towards their mom…nope. Not gonna have it. And as I drove home, as is often the case with me when dealing with my kids, the Lord dealt with me, too.
When I got home, I explained to my daughter that I loved her, and because of that, I can’t let her continue to act they way she was acting. Does she get that? Who knows? But you know what? She needs to learn it. It’s not an easy lesson, but I want her to understand that love is not always fun and games. Sometimes it’s not the easy thing, but the hard thing.
Any parent that’s worth their salt knows that, in disciplining our kids, there is a lot of truth in the saying “this is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you.” I love my kids dearly, and want nothing but the best for them, which is precisely why I can’t allow them to continue uncorrected into blatant sin. And folks, when your kid fails to honor mom and dad, that’s sin. News flash to all of you parents out there: your kids weren’t born saints. They’re sinners who need a Savior, just like us.
But here’s the cool part. In those moments of correction, I can point my daughter to Jesus. I can tell her that her heart needs Jesus in order to want to obey mom and dad. I can tell her that Jesus loves her so much He died to forgive that very sin, and that He wants to help her to obey. Again, I don’t know if she “gets” that yet, but I can keep telling her, keep pointing her to Jesus. I can keep on asking for forgiveness myself when I screw up, and do so in front of her. I can “wear” it for them.
And I can tell her that just like Daddy has to discipline her, God does the same thing with me. And this is why:
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5,6
So keep telling them you love them. Keep correcting them where they’re off. But remember: they aren’t holy just yet. God is working on them, and on you, through this amazing thing we call the family. And remember this, too:
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9
Don’t grow weary. Keep on. They’re worth it.