No "Bottled" Answers
Hi! I know you explained this already, but I was wondering if we could perhaps get some more clarity, especially related to consequences and the law of sowing and reaping. I know there needs to be a consequence for every act of rebellion, and at the same time there will be teaching about the grace of God—Jesus’ substituting His Life for us. In applying this to our daughter, do we discipline her every time she walks in the light about things she is seeing in her life? In order to learn the law of sowing and reaping, should there be a punitive consequence each time? Our daughter is coming into the Light with her sins 3—4 times a day! We need and desire to provide a response—but are they always punitive? And which ones are punitive and which ones aren’t?
I know that my fear of her not walking in the light shouldn’t keep me from disciplining her. Jenn has confessed things like: being bossy to other children, being easily irritated, thinking vain thoughts, not really caring about others, being worried about what others will think about her if she says or does a certain thing, and thinking she is better than others. These are examples of what she is seeing on her own and confessing to others. Should I discipline her each time she brings these sins into the open? If so, is it always punitive? For instance, suppose my child, on her own, comes to me and says something like, “I realized that earlier today I had a proud attitude toward one of the other children. I know I should have turned from it right then, but I didn’t.” Should she still be disciplined in a punitive way as well as be encouraged and directed in things like prayer, fasting, and reading scripture pertaining to pride, etc?
Also, how can a child recognize when something is a temptation versus when they’ve given themselves over to that sin? And is there different discipline or response for a child who is His child versus a child who hasn’t yet given their life to Him? She is unregenerate and knows this as well. She seems to genuinely want something real with Jesus, but is finding she cannot even purify her motives for seeking Him. Neither my husband nor I feel we have a real grasp on this. We would appreciate any clarification. THANKS!
Hi. What rings in our ears is that this whole walk and Life of leading our children to Jesus is mostly an Art, in the most creative sense. It is mostly an art and not a science to somehow lead them to reach up and place their hands in Jesus’ hands, to look in His eyes and be melted by His love and His mercy and His Kindness. How do you “bottle that”? How do you write a manual with all the wheres and hows and whens? How do you capture that unfolding of leading a child to see the True Life of God in a set of “ways to raise children”? The answer?? You don’t! : )
We need to have spiritual eyes to See Jesus and feel what He’s feeling for each situation for each child, one-by-one-by-one. It will never be, “Okay, NOW I know how to do this.” That will NEVER be the case. Rather, it will always be for us a day-by-day Life with Him, listening for His voice, staying soft in His hands and humble before His All-knowing, all-encompassing Greatness and Wisdom. If you wanted to put a label on it, you could say that it is all the Truths and principles and wonder of what it means to be Led by His Spirit.
So we can’t answer you, really, about things like “Should it be punitive every time?” or “How do you know when...?” or “What’s the difference for an unbelieving child?” Most of it’s wrapped up in knowing HIM, rather than knowing an “answer.” We would never want to say, “Always discipline for this.” Or “Never discipline in this case.” There are just too many variables to try to peg God down like that. So all of that ONLY drives us to be oh so serious and diligent and purposeful in Living at His feet...rooting out our OWN sin, refining and focusing our own priorities, so we can Hear and See and Sense what He’s wanting.
One other thing to keep in mind since your daughter is getting older is that there may likely be a time (and for each child it is different) when it is best to lay aside the rod as the tool of discipline. That doesn’t mean to lay aside discipline! It’s just time to lay aside the rod. And it needs to be done with clear words to the child, “You’re growing into a young lady and this is no longer the tool...The rod has been right and good and has had its place. IT IS a valid and useful tool in God’s toolbox. So we’re not laying it aside because it’s unnecessary or ineffective. It is simply time for a change for you. There will be other means of discipline when you need to feel the pain.” That way, the child understands that it is a decision YOU have made, specifically in response to what is Best for them, and God’s timing. The child won’t get the message that you’ve just slacked off and put the rod away because it is useless or unimportant. It has its place in every child’s life, but there does come a time to put it aside. That “change” needs to be clearly made, verbally to the child, so they understand WHY things have “changed.”
All that we need, all that we must have, all that we cannot live without, all of it, forever, is in Jesus. We can find Him...now, tomorrow, next week, next year, all along, regarding our children. IN HIM we live and move and have our being. He is Good enough, Kind enough, Full of Mercy and Compassion enough to Touch us again and again and again...to sustain us while we are yet learning to live IN HIM. It’s so easy to forget how desperately we DEPEND upon His Touch, His Air, His Words, and His Thoughts for our children, now and forever!
We’re really not wanting to “skirt” your questions....we hope there is Hope in all this for you. And we think you’ll find a lot more helpful nuggets as you continue to prayerfully read in quietness, and trust and peace. He cares deeply for you and your children. That starting place is Trust and then pursuing His heart and mind to be revealed in your inner man. There’s just a TON about His character and creativity and avenues with our children that are yet to be discovered!
Love, Mary and Debra
a letter from Jenn months later:
Dear Mary and Debra, Hi! Something happened yesterday that I wanted to let you know about! We were watching that video “Freeing Power: Marrying Jesus” and after we were done I saw that I was married to the law and that there was no escape from that marriage...unless someone died. I had this picture in my mind of Jesus dying, and then after He is raised to life, He kneels down, reaches out His hand, and asks, “Will you marry me?” Well, I said I would and I gave my life to Him and now I am His! Last night I was baptized and I have been asking Him to help and teach me because I still need Him! I don’t know how to live for Him, but one thing someone told me recently to just give my life to Him and say, “God, I don’t know how to live for you, but I know you’ll teach me! I run to You just like a child. Teach me!”
One thing that I definitely don’t want to do is doubt Him or second guess Him or myself and the choice I’ve made. I can get in to those circles where its like....“I will trust Him. OK. Now I trust Him. Maybe I don’t. I will try harder. OK. THIS time I WILL trust Him. I don’t FEEL like I am trusting him....” etc. I know that hurts Him and I don’t want to do that. So if you think about it, feel free to pray that I would just trust Him in everything. One thing He showed me a few days ago is that I need Him to even be able to trust Him! If you have any thoughts I would love to hear them! Love, Jenn :)! P.S. Thanks for your prayers!