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Ask Yourself This Question if Your Children Don’t Obey

by Kelly Crawford

I never thought I’d live to see a day where professing Christians scoff at the idea of parental authority and what has been traditionally accepted parenting methods for centuries.  But as many reject authority themselves, it’s only natural that they would transmit that to their parenting.

Kevin Swanson gave a super-charged and brilliant lesson on child-training last week in Texas.  The thrust of his message was, “If your children don’t obey you it’s because they don’t fear the Lord”. And he went on to ask the obvious question:  “Could it be that if my children don’t fear the Lord it’s because I don’t fear the Lord?”

Be the Police Officer

To make the point, he described how silly it would be for a police officer to pull you over for speeding and give you a high-pitched tongue-lashing:


We all know that he walks over as cool as a cucumber and says, “You know you were doing 75 in a 55…”

And yet our hands are trembling and we can barely answer.  Why?

Not because we fear the police office, but because we know he has the power of the state behind him to enforce the deserved consequences of our actions.

Furthermore, we know he is only doing his job because ultimately he cares for our safety and the safety of the other drivers.  It is his job to implement correction that will lengthen our lives and protect us from harm.

The state established the laws of safety, then they gave the officer authority to enforce them for the good of the citizens.

Fear Doesn’t Diminish His Love

The fear of the Lord has been so misunderstood and misinterpreted.  Acknowledging our need for the fear of the Lord does not diminish the love of our Heavenly Father.  Scripture cannot contradict itself.  This very disclaimer is necessary because so many Christians have bought a version of Christianity that is fake.

Without the fear of the Lord there is no wisdom, there is no safety, there is no purity, there is no life.  Rejecting the fear of the Lord is foolishness and destruction.

So as we lovingly teach our children of the Lord and His mercy, let us not neglect this life-giving principle lest we destroy them too.

Then, when we walk in to find little brother duct-taped to the wall, let us remain cool…“Son, although ‘no-duct-taping brothers to walls’ is not a specific rule…”

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Samantha July 20, 2010 - 3:29 pm

Very good post. I really needed that!

SavedbyGrace July 20, 2010 - 3:45 pm

Yep, “fear of the Lord” is not something most folks want to hear. Many of them disagree quite vigorously with it. I’ll be interested to see what kind of comments you get from this one. 🙂

It seems many people get so hung up on God is Love (which He is ) that they forget that first and foremost He is Holy God and we (Christ’s church ) are to be holy as He is holy.

I find myself wanting to use the verse “If you love me you will obey me” with my children. I’m never sure thats a proper way to use that verse thought. 😉

Jessica July 20, 2010 - 3:49 pm

Thumbs up! I think (certainly hope) any Christian will agree with that. Now to the more controversial topic, even among Christians. The rod.


SavedbyGrace July 20, 2010 - 7:45 pm

Today’s the day for controversy, hmmmm. 🙂

Personally I’m a fan of an appropriately, well applied rod. It’s the best attitude changer that I’ve ever seen. If our justice system actually used discipline instead of “rehabilitation” we’d see grown up attitudes changed too.

It’s interesting, if we don’t know how to deal with discipline from our earthly parents how in the world will we be able to cope with discipline from our Heavenly Father. ‘Course there are those who don’t believe He discipines us – imagine what a shock that’s gonna be. Kind of like an athiest on judgment day.

Jennifer July 20, 2010 - 8:39 pm

I guess it depends on what you mean by “the rod”.

SavedbyGrace July 20, 2010 - 8:55 pm

In our case, a paddle DH made. I don’t use my hand or a belt.

We considered an actual rod, kind of like a dowel rod, but decided that a paddle would do the trick – for us. Since my children are getting older I find that I use it less often. I think that early training to obey properly when they are young produces good results. Of course, for a lot of children that may mean getting up taking them by the hand, showing them how and making them do it. When they were resistant or fought then they got a smack ( that’s what I called it ) on the bottom, then we finished the task at hand. Now, they usually, do what is requested of them w/o a lot of argument. Of course, I firmly believe that it is just God’s grace and love that’s got them this way – I’m just the happy recipient because I tried to obey His word. 🙂

Charity July 21, 2010 - 12:17 pm

I was thinking the same thing Jennifer. I have a really hard time with this since I grew up in a very abusive home. We have found (with our 3 small children) that it is much more effective discipline to pull our child to the side that is sinning(because really that is what it is) and talk to them about what is the right thing to be doing verses what they were doing. I think it is all too easy to whack ’em on the hiney out of frusteration, for many parents, than to pull them aside and lovingly discipline them and show them what needs to be worked on. Discipline is so different from punishment. No one whacks us (adults)on the rear for disobeying.

SavedbyGrace July 21, 2010 - 1:58 pm

Are you sure that no one “whacks you”. God disciplines us does He not? I’m sure that I’ve been “whacked” several times by Him when I’m running amuck. 🙂 I really don’t enjoy it much. But I’m glad He loves me enough to do it.

Charity July 21, 2010 - 2:39 pm

I knew as soon as I clickled “submit comment” someone would be bringing that up 😉 I know that God disciplines His children, as I have witnessed it in my own life. I never said that we don’t discipline our children. Quite the contrary. I just know that one form of discipline is not the standard for each family seeking to conform to the image of Christ.

Jennifer July 21, 2010 - 10:28 pm

I’m sorry you had that experience Charity 🙁 My parents weren’t abusive, but spanking never did anything for me. I agree, people don’t whack adults on the bottoms. Including God; He’s generally more of a puller-asider Himself I think 🙂

Kelly L July 22, 2010 - 2:28 pm

I have been whacked, because God had to remove His hand off of me because I was a brat and wanted my sin more than I wanted His constant correction. The thing is, I had it coming, He had talked to me numerous times about it, then had my husband talk to me. I still kept doing it, assuring myself it was not sin. Finally, with His hand removed, sin, and the one behind it, had its way with me. Praise God, He accepted my repentance and I am under His protection once more. If He had not allowed me to feel the consequence of my sin, I probably would be doing it to this day. Because He loves me, He had to allow me to get whacked. I am so thankful He did!

Katie Grace July 20, 2010 - 4:42 pm

My husband just spoke on this Sunday in Church. He is a worship leader and the sermon was on marriage. He chose a song that talked about men needing to lead their families. While introducing the song, he spoke to the need to have the fear of the Lord as men. That men will give an account for the spiritual health of their families and how men have “lost” the fear of the Lord. Our pastor then had a sermon about men leading.
This is such an important aspect of who God is. We cannot have His Love without His Holiness!
Also, this made me laugh because when I was little my dad would say that he was “gonna put the fear of the Lord in us” for misbehaving! That usually meant a spanking followed by some awful chore that no one wanted to do! (like cleaning the pig pen or under the rabbit cages). None of us were damaged by this. We now sit around and compare our offenses and the discipline our Dad came up with.

Tricia July 20, 2010 - 4:52 pm

Good post, Kelly. I believe that learning to respect and obey parents and parental authority is a first step in learning to respect (fear in the Biblical sense) and obey God. And if we as parents are also loving, as we are supposed to be and as God is, it will help our children understand God’s working in their lives as they grow.

Regina July 20, 2010 - 6:31 pm

Several members of my church have responded to my decision to homeschool by admitting that their children mind other people better than them. And used this as their reason to not homeschool. It sort of makes me blush when they say this, because if this were true of my kids, I’d be ashamed.

SavedbyGrace July 20, 2010 - 7:32 pm

Isn’t that the truth!

You will absolutely homeschooling. The time spent with those little one will be most precious and seeing them grow in thier understanding of Scripture and love for the Savour – PRICELESS.

Jaime @ Like a Bubbling Brook July 21, 2010 - 8:52 am

Regina, you make a great observation; I’ve heard the same thing many times.

Lauren July 20, 2010 - 7:44 pm

Thank you for this important post. Does anyone have any more resources on this topic? Particularly on how to practically raise your children with a fear of the Lord. Any good books you’ve read etc?

SavedbyGrace July 20, 2010 - 8:01 pm

Apparently I’m feeling very commenty tonight. 🙂

Lauren, consistency is the key. Consistently state the rules and make sure they adhere to them. The ” To Train up the Child” book by the Pearls is a good starting point. However, it’s just like everything else – be a Berean and study scripture. Take only the points that agree with Scriptural standards. Children have to be taught to obey – it does not come naturally. Quite honestly a certain amount of the fear/RESPECT of Mom and Dad is also part of the game. It is a fear of disappointing Mom and Dad, a fear of punishment but we as parents must also be tuned into things well enough to administer grace and forgiveness. One of the things I really like about “To Train” is that when the punishment is over it is suggested that you take the child upon your lap and restore the relationship to one of love and affection.

I grew up in a home where the rod was used liberally. I am not marred for life mentally or physically. However, knowing what I know now- that restoration after punishment is SO necessary. The punishment teaches but the restoration puts us back into the right kind of loving realtionship with each other without there being any distrust of my love for the child. It is, I believe, a truly scriptural method. Once our Lord has disciplined us, we are then restored to a right relationship with Him. That is what discipline of our children should do for us. It is also helps them to respond correctly to the Lords discipline.

If our children do not know how to obey our direction – how will they know how to obey the Lord.

Of course, we must also be careful not the exasperate our childen. Which is why we must be consistent.

Lori July 20, 2010 - 8:44 pm

Actually, I wouldn’t recommend TTUAC. It’s not evil, but it’s more of a spanking guide than a discipline guide – and as a spanking guide *take with a grain of salt.*

I recommend the Tripp book Shepherding Your Child’s Heart.

In these cases, you actually can kind of tell the books by their covers:
The Pearl book is about training a child (kind of dog-like – and yes, it makes some good points)
The Tripp book is about shepherding and discipling the child.

Lori July 20, 2010 - 8:47 pm

But that said, good posting Kelly, thanks!

Word Warrior July 20, 2010 - 8:49 pm

Shepherding a Child’s Heart was a pivotal read for us as young parents.

SavedbyGrace July 20, 2010 - 9:09 pm

Also, a good book. But To train up is more than a rod book. It is a rod book that ends up with a loving exchange at the end, telling the child where they erred and bringing them back into the correct relationship with their parents. As far as I can tell most parents have more issues with using the rod correctly than they do with not.

As far as training & dogs well, I disagree. Training is necessary and I don’t consider it in the same light. Not training a child to obey you the first time you ask them to do something and tolerating whining disobedience is what gets you a screaming, crying fit in public place. Which I have never had – thank you.

Even as adults we train. Is training our bodies for an atheltic event the same as training a horse for a race / show? Of course, it is. Yet we still train don’t we? There is nothing inherently wrong with training and it is very useful for producing desired results. Wouldn’t discipline from our Lord also be training? I think that 40 years in the wilderness trained the Israelites to obey the Lord. Being carted off to Babylon also trained the Israelites to obey. Training is training – it’s just a thing, a tool used by someone to produce desired results. It might be easier to train a dog ( less rebellion ) than a 2 year old but it’s basically the same thing. I know it’s a ridiculous analagy but it works.

If we want our children to obey the Lord – they must be saturated in His word and His commands. Just as we must be saturated if we want to obey.

Jennifer July 21, 2010 - 1:57 am

There are plenty of things in TTUAC I couldn’t apply; I hated spanking when I was little and was never really encouraged to do right by it. With my own kids, I’ll most likely smack their hands or something, or maybe swat their legs when pressed, but I’ll never do the degrading methodical smacks of the bottom.

Still, the Pearls do respect their kids and definitely encourage them to think for themselves when they enter adulthood. I’m glad they show respect for their young adults and especially the grown adult offspring, rather than expecting their adult daughters to obey them the way some do.

SavedbyGrace July 21, 2010 - 6:30 am

Hi Jennifer,
Oh, yes! I feel the same way. I hated the spankings I received as a child along with all those lectures. 🙂 But I’ll say this, the bottom is the proper place for the application for discipline. I’ve had my legs all marred up by a switch or some other instrument and honestly it’s worse than one just located on the bottom. Don’t even get me started on slaps on the face! Horrible stuff.

The thing I really like about To Train up is that it teaches parents HOW to spank biblically. That is what I took away from the book – the only book I accept verbatim is the Bible everything else I nitpick. To Train shows parents that any discipline offered up to your children should have as the end- pointing them back to the LORD. At the end of a spanking it is suggested that you take the child on your lap, explain why they were punished (something as simple as “God says to obey your Mommy, honey”. Then discuss the punishment and let them know they are forgiven and that you love them very much. It clicked with me that if we are to apply the rod that is the they right way to do it.

If we wait to spank until we “fly off the handle” and then we leave them a crying puddle on the bed w/o any type of restoration then we have failed. As a matter of fact I’d say we’ve sinned at that point. Yet this is the point at which many parents spank. It is an act of desperation or anger not an act of restoration. Properly applied, the rod, is a very useful tool to teach children how to behave. Like absolutely everything else out there – there are people who will abuse it.

My children also do not enjoy the rod, especially from Daddy. 😉 But spare the rod, spoil the child. When finished with the rod restore the relationship – you can never spoil a child with love. IF you want a loving child, then love on them all the time. If you want an obedient child then tell them how to do and show them how to do it.

Jennifer July 21, 2010 - 10:17 am

Oh, I wouldn’t use a switch on their legs, just my hand; hands are safest. A switch would be methodical, which is what I simply won’t be. Once kids are spanked, I think they should have some time to recuperate, rather than trying to push a love message right then and there.

SavedbyGrace July 21, 2010 - 12:51 pm

See this is where I really disagree. Our HANDS should never touch our children to cause hurt. Using a rod places a certain distance (if you don’t agree fine) which our hands do not.

People disagree with the rod and that is fine but I have found that doing things, in a Scriptural way, always works out for the best.

Katie Grace July 21, 2010 - 2:42 pm

Oh, I agree with never using the hand. A parents hands should not be associated with the spanking. Using a paddle (we have a paint stir stick since our children are so young) is best. I only swat my child’s hands if they are in danger (touching something hot or an outlet, etc) and only until they are old enough to understand. My husband is starting to take our oldest to a designated room for a spanking. We also use sitting in the chair for her. It’s a chair in the formal living room where she has to sit until a timer buzzes. This works very well for her.

the cottage child July 21, 2010 - 3:41 pm

I couldn’t agree less with this – of course our hands should be associated with discipline, up to and including loving punishment.

Our hands are extensions of our authority – children aren’t stupid, they know the difference between a spanking and a hug, done properly both are performed by us out of love. Humility, more than physical pain, of both parent and child is part of the equation, and can’t be factored out and still be effective.

I think the notion that we can remove ourselves from punishment in a physical manner presents two dangers – one, if you spank your child with your open hand, you know exactly the degree of punishment you’re administering. A switching or a smack with a belt create an inappropriate degree of separation – what seems like a tap can feel like a lashing on the skin. Second, the punishment IS from us, by God’s authority, done with the same loving hand a hug is. Do you call your neighbor to ground administer a grounding punishment? Trying to separate those is really an attempt to remove ourselves from the unpleasantness. As a parent, I accept the unpleasantness as a part of the office. The spanking IS from me, not from an inanimate object with no interest in the matter.

Lauren July 22, 2010 - 3:53 am

Thank you ladies! I’ll be looking into those titles. 🙂

Amy in AL July 20, 2010 - 9:17 pm

Shepherding a Child’s Heart has been our parenting “handbook” next in line to scripture. It is full of scripture, and teaches how to point our children to the cross and give them a clear picture of the gospel as we train and discipline. I highly recommend it. In fact, I have found it helpful to reread every couple years.

Kelly, this is a good post. We are currently doing the study on Proverbs that Kevin Swanson wrote. This post reminded me of it. So far, it has been very good. I would recommend that, too. I am enjoying reading of the thoughts and lessons gleaned from the conference in TX. God is challenging my heart, and I’m so thankful.

Blessings to you and your family,

Jennifer July 21, 2010 - 4:07 pm

I agree with CC. I think using a hand to swat a hand is better than a paddle, which seems both extreme and degrading. A hand would just swat quickly, it wouldn’t even be a constant reaction.

Katie Grace July 21, 2010 - 5:04 pm

Let me make myself more clear. I “swat” with my hand my child’s hand in dangerous situations such as the ones that I’ve stated. I still believe that a spanking should not be done In anger, should be clearly understood what it’s given for, and should be done with something other than a hand. This keeps me from spanking in anger or haste and from spanking when some other disipline would be sufficent. It also helps keep spanking rare. I think spanking can be over used and is more effective if it is not the first line of discipline. And a spanking is on the bottom. I think maybe there is a reason that the Bible refers to a “rod”. I think it is an important seperation, especially for smaller children. My children do not fear my hand because it is not causing them pain. I’ve seen children recoil from a parent as they extend their hand because they thought it might be used to spank them. So far, this works for us. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

the cottage child July 21, 2010 - 5:40 pm

“I’ve seen children recoil from a parent as they extend their hand because they thought it might be used to spank them. ” Probably because it was not used appropriately. Kids who are spanked with switches don’t run away from trees, usually, and still stir cookie dough with wooden spoons, stir paint with stir sticks, etc.

Whether the hand or another instrument, it’s wielded by the hand, children know this, and I don’t find any interpretation of the “rod” as a literal one, necessarily. The rod represents the right consequence (spanking and otherwise) of wrong action, rather than an instrument of punishment.

It’s that truth that should keep us from striking in anger – any parent who doesn’t understand that should not consider corporal punishment at all until his or her own heart is right.

Jennifer July 21, 2010 - 10:30 pm

Heh, very true CC. I sure don’t want my own kids fearing trees.

Kelly L July 22, 2010 - 2:38 pm

I am not trying to be snarky here, really. But do you hold the paddle or the rod with your feet? Of course it is the hands that deliver the punishment. When my daughter was younger I used my hands, but they are sensitive and my hand stung worse than her bottom. I use a small, wooden spoon now (actually I have not had to spank her for 2 years because she loves God more than I could have hoped for). I will agree that spanking done in anger is horrible. I have done it until God dealt with me. But so is a harsh tone, word, or even the silent treatment. Bottom line, anything done in anger is harmful because it is not of the Lord. But those same words and spankings delivered with love turn a child’s heart back to you and to God.

chel July 22, 2010 - 7:16 am

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tripp

Melodie July 20, 2010 - 9:13 pm

Great post and great discussion! Shepherding a Child’s Heart is what we’re working through right now but I also listened to some lectures on familylife.com called “right from the start” that seem to follow the same sort of thinking that Shepherding does. Wished we had known this information before but with our oldest being only 2 1/2 hopefully we still have time. = )

shelly July 20, 2010 - 9:41 pm

I’ve listened to a Voddie Baucham message on child training that is so, so good. Google it.

Darcy July 20, 2010 - 10:08 pm

I agree..Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp is an excellent resource!!

sheena July 21, 2010 - 12:42 am

We are huge fans of Tripp’s book, which like Kelly said, was also a pivotal point in our parenting. I reference parts of this book at least once a year.

Our church is going through the DVD class Shepherding a Child’s Heart. My DH and I don’t have to time to be a part of the weekly group study but we were thinking about getting the DVDs at some point and just going through them ourselves.

Have any of you done the DVD series? Is it the same info from the book re-hashed in a different format? I am hoping the DVD series will focus on real-life application and how to examples of the great concepts and principles in the book.

Would anybody who has gone through the DVD series be willing to share?

karen July 21, 2010 - 6:57 am

The Voddie Baucham message on child training was great thanks to whoever recommened it , the time just flew by and I have some things jotted down to begin doing!!

Kim M July 21, 2010 - 7:34 am

I absolutely love the policeman example. It just makes sense! Oh… and I can relate to the duct tape example too. Not that my boys have committed *that* particular crime, but I am sure if they could find the duct tape they’d try it!
They love tying each other up. And usually both the offender and the victim have huge smiles on each other’s faces. 😉

Mary July 21, 2010 - 7:59 am

I used to believe this, and still do if it’s what you need in order to be obedient to God. But, an even bigger question to look at if your children don’t obey is, “Do you love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, mind, soul, and strength?” Do you spend the time teaching and sharing this love with your children? And, do your childen see you making your decisions based on a love that is so deep that you would never want to hurt, disappoint your Lord, but instead that you would seek to always love, please, and serve your Lord. It’s the little every day decisions they notice…. not just the big ones. The child’s heart that is raised in fear–even fear of the Lord, is much different than a child’s heart that is raised in the trust and love of His Lord. Again, Jesus used love, not intimidation, to serve. He spoke of doing everything His Father asked, and nothing that His Father did not ask. Never did He mention that it was out of fear for His Father. It was out of respect, which is based in love. Many translations for fear in the Bible, actually mean respect. Respect can come from a fear of someone, but it can also come from love. I tremble because I don’t want a ticket–that’s a fear and embarrassment. But, I decide to stay in a tough marriage out of respect that God’s plans and priorities are greater than my own, not because I’m afraid God is going to punish me if I don’t. That respect for God’s plan also allows me to focus on loving my husband with God’s love. Staying out of fear would never have allowed me to discover a deeper, greater love for my husband that ultimately is what rebuilt my marriage. Also, when we teach our children to fear/respect our Lord out of His love for them, and our love response back to Him, we teach them to seek His heart for their lives. We teach them that God is our first source for any decision…. When they see us doing that, they will be more likely to do the same, rather than trying to hide or lie because they are afraid of disappointing… Fear/respect of the Lord is absolutely Biblical, but please remember that Christ came to save, and while here, and while dying, He showed us just how powerful His love was; obedience was part of that love, as we saw on the cross… Put read 1 Corinthians 13 for the definition of love. When we follow that, we automatically obey; it just becomes part of our heart’s desires. Not that we won’t sometimes experience rebellion–that’s part of our sinful nature. But, when we stop and ask what God seeks for us, and we can remember that rebellion often has elements of impatience, of rudeness, of self-seeking, then we are directed back to what’s important to God. When we are truly seeking His Will from our hearts, we are open to obeying whatever He puts on our hearts. This is what we strive to teach our children. Just my .02 for the day…. Keep praising God, and being obedient to Him, and remember that it’s His love for us that pulls us toward Him, keeps us close to Him, and that ultimately saves us. It’s the ONE thing that He can offer us that Satan cannot…. It’s one way we discern whether something is from God… Satan never has the power of His Love… So, anything truly loving (God’s love, not human love) is from God. (Every good and perfect gift is from above)…that helps us to see that Satan just cannot offer us anything good. Love is the purest form of Goodness. And, it’s the best offering we have to give back to God..that’s why that’s what He wants most from us…. “Seek His Face, and all the rest will fall into place….” 🙂

In His love,


Jennifer Griffin July 21, 2010 - 9:38 am

Thank you for this post. I needed to hear it. OUCH. I have heart work to do on myself and my boys. God used you today in my life.

Word Warrior July 21, 2010 - 9:41 am


Don’t we all need it! Praise God.

the cottage child July 21, 2010 - 9:46 am

It’s a shame to see the result of the past couple of generations having been “spared” the rod of correction and Biblical discipline. I don’t think spanking is appropriate in every situation, or effective for every child (I have one who would take it personally and not make the connection, another who knows when his buns need a pop – uncanny how God works in each person), but to consider what has been allowed to occur in children because appropriate corporal punishment is now viewed as abuse is nothing less than abuse itself. Sending a child into the world without any sort of boundaries, or only knowing ugly words because that is the only means of “correction” the powerless parent can muster is abject negligence, and mean besides.

I can appreciate the studies that show violence begets violence, but that’s the straw man that gets floated when this topic is brought up as if spanking and beating are synonymous. A more appropriate study would be, for this generation of adult white collar criminals (posing as politicians and bankers), to measure which of them were spanked/Biblically disciplined as children. I suspect it would be very revealing.

Jennifer July 21, 2010 - 10:22 am

So well-said, CC. I’m glad you understand the difference between kids with spanking and see the vital need for discipline as a whole. The liberal government of insane self-important doctrine is getting ridiculous; they’re fire a teacher for “harsh” discipline and want little kids to feel comfortable with sex, yet they’re now trying to control weight and encourage teachers to send certain kids home with letters warning their parents about their “body mass”. These people wouldn’t know a healthy child if they were kicked by one.

Sylvia July 21, 2010 - 10:14 am

Wonderful post !

Speaking from personal experience, when raised with discipline and expectations and prayer, even if you are thousands of miles away from your parents, the thought of disappointing them and not obeying God will stop you many a time from what you are not supposed to be doing. Even if you are tempted. Even if no one you know but only God will know. Regardless of where you are, the culture around you and what people around you are doing.

Word Warrior July 21, 2010 - 2:04 pm

Interestingly, though my husband had not read this post last night, he read this to us before we went to bed:

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Kelly L July 22, 2010 - 2:41 pm

I love those verses (and I think quoted it here a little while ago). I am so glad God has such a better place for me than where I am now. I am glad He uses His loving discipline to get me there!

Beth West July 21, 2010 - 2:40 pm

This was a wonderful post, Kelly. Maybe next time I tell one of the children, “I can’t BELIEVE you did that!” I’ll rethink the matter and take more appropriate action. Thanks!

Jennifer Worthylake July 21, 2010 - 10:09 pm

Kelly –
Is there a place to listen to Kevin’s message? I really appreciate you sharing this. Full obedience (ie, right away, all the way AND with a happy heart) is something we struggle with. Great food for thought & prayer.

Krissa July 21, 2010 - 10:52 pm

I would never hit my children. Never. There is no Biblical verse that would entreat me to do so. Fear of the Lord is one thing, fear of the parents is another. I am capable of disciplining my children without resorting to violence. I am sorry if you are not. You are borderline abusive in my opinion if you do, and I would take a long hard and prayerful look at this.

Word Warrior July 22, 2010 - 7:24 am


We’re not talking about “hitting” or resorting to violence. You can lump a biblical approach to discipline in this category if you wish, but it doesn’t make it the same.

I actually don’t take all the verses about corporal punishment to the extent they speak. (e.g. “The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.”)

I don’t have one child who suffers from “violence” or attachment-disorders or low self-esteem, etc. They are happy, obedient and healthy. On the contrary, I know and see many, many children who are angry, disobedient and generally not healthy emotionally because of a lack of proper love and discipline in the home. You can’t disregard Scripture and expect the same blessings.

I would ask you to prayerfully lay aside your misconceptions and love your children.

Dev July 22, 2010 - 10:12 am

I think I would be truly saddened to know my child trembled at the sight of me (as you cite in your police parallel). That would make me think I have a hard time controlling my anger and he/she is afraid of being injured in some way.

If hitting and violence are not the biblical approach, what is? You don’t give specifics, and I think it would be very easy to interpret fear in a child as fear of injury. What creates that fear? I can’t see a logical consquence (i.e., you throw your plate on the floor. logical consequence: you clean it up.) imbuing hand-trembling fear in the heart of a child.

Word Warrior July 22, 2010 - 12:02 pm


The thing we struggle with is the deep nature of God and the seemingly contradictory parts of His character. He is Love, and yet He demands that we fear Him. Most of us fall into one ditch or the other, instead of embracing the fullness of His character the way we should.

Nothing about this post suggested that our children “tremble at the sight of us”. We try to teach our children the fear of the Lord and a healthy respect for authority, yet our children are not, in the slightest “afraid of us”. They respect/fear consequences for actions, and that, in part, motivates them to avoid disobedience.

Just as God teaches us. We are motivated by love to obey, and motivated by fear *not* to disobey. It seems like a contradiction, but we must accept that Scripture teaches this is plainly as anything.

Either side of the fence is a perverted view of God. Just as an imbalance of parenting along these lines will be damaging to children. But when biblical training and teaching is carried out, the healthy, balanced, joyful fruit is the evidence of right principles.

Kelly L July 22, 2010 - 2:50 pm

I would go further, Kelly, beyond saying an imbalanced view of God is perverted. It is actually making a god in your own image. The god you can be comfortable with. The god that allows you to do what you feel good about. We all know this god, it is self, and it is projected onto God by all of us, at one time or another, to decimate His true nature. It is breaking a commandment.
We should never be able to wrap our heads around everything that God is. That, in itself, is evidence that the God if the Bible is not a fictional character devised by men. That He is all that He is, especially the parts we don’t like, is proof that He is more that we could dream of or hope for. Evidence of His reality, yet still remains the things unseen. He is too great to limit and box in. Too wonderful and Holy to dismiss His full character. I cannot help but love EVERYTHING He is with everything I am.

Kelly L July 22, 2010 - 2:52 pm

I wasn’t meaning that 1st sentence to sound like an admonishment, Kelly, just a support with a further point. Sorry that it sounded that way. 🙁

Word Warrior July 22, 2010 - 3:52 pm

No, no, I totally got what you meant 😉

TulipGirl August 4, 2010 - 12:24 am

Seriously? I find in Scripture the Lord relating to us as a Bridegroom to a bride, a father to his adopted son. . . Not in the spirit of a policeman to a convict.

Word Warrior August 4, 2010 - 7:44 am

The post doesn’t compare our relationship with God to a policeman and a convict. Actually, the post doesn’t mention a convict at all. It mentions a normal citizen who broke a common rule. The analogy of the policeman is to a parent. God represents the authority BEHIND the policemen (parent), which is biblical, through and through. Especially if you read the whole Bible and not a few cherry-picked verses.


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