One day when my daughter Stephanie was about three years old, and having a bad day, she lay down on the kitchen floor and threw the tantrum of all tantrums. She quickly discovered that that was not allowed. She never did it again. Parents want their children to grow up obedient, well adjusted, and prepared to succeed in and take on the world. Good parents realize that this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. God’s word teaches us that without boundaries—His guidelines and ways—human life would end up in chaos. That is the meaning of Prov 29:18: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” The meaning the original Hebrew implies is this: “Where there is no revelation or understanding of God’s authority, the people are exposed, naked, without a covering of protection and consequently they wander around in chaos, but he that learns of and keeps God’s ways is one that is happy and has God’s hedge of protection around him.” This verse is in the midst of instructional verses focusing on discipline and boundaries for children and adults alike.
God’s word teaches us of the need for and value of restraints and boundaries. It is not about dos and don’ts. Boundaries are from God’s parental heart of love and that love extends to all of us. God teaching us boundaries and the need for restraint is His love spilling over to us. Boundaries are not confining but, to the contrary, liberating. They are designed to point us to that which brings blessing and to steer us away from that which could lead to a life of hurt, pain, destruction and death. Little Johnny and Sally’s parents tell them not to ride their scooters out into the street. Why? Because they want to take away their fun? No, because they want to protect them from harm.
If we love our children we lay these boundaries down for them, but then we also model them so they can imitate us over the progression of their lives. If you don’t want your children to scream, don’t you be a screaming parent. If we don’t love them, we let them do whatever they want to. But, that leads them to become unruly and uncontrollable children that have little to no respect for anyone and then grow to hate any form of restraint or boundaries. “You can’t tell me what to do.” “I’ll do whatever I please!” They head straight toward life-long destructive behaviors. That is why Prov 13:24 says that part of love is discipline. “He who spares the rod (does not follow through with correction that results in a change of behavior) hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. If we don’t follow through in instructing our children in the knowledge and instruction of God’s Word and establishing boundaries with consistent discipline, then we contribute to their destruction. Prov 13:24 says, “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.”
Parents need to know that they have only a few years to set the course for just how their little Johnny or Susie is going to respond to their authority and other authority figures for the rest of their lives. Our children had learned boundaries, received correction and discipline, and learned to treat people with respect. This was mostly established by the time they were five years old. It minimized bad behavior going forward and made raising our children an absolute joy! They have grown into adults and are now great people and great friends. We love them and they love us. Discipline applied consistently and appropriately is one real proof of your love. If this is done correctly it will help fill your life with joy. If left undone it will fill your life with grief. Proverbs 19:18 says: Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t, you will ruin their lives. Make the effort to get this part right and you will be doing yourself a favor that will reward you for the rest of your life. It’s all about true love!
Proverbs 13:24 (NLT) If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.