This chapter is TOO full of good stuff to cram it all into one week – so we are going to do only the first half, this week! I hope you aren’t anxious for this study to be completed…because, it is going to take awhile! ha!
YOU’RE IN CHARGE
Why do we have a problem with being “in charge”? Maybe because most of us have not had a “godly authority” modeled to us in a healthy, productive and biblical way. To quote Dr. Leaman (from our weekly Parenting night) – our goal is to be an AUTHORITY without being an AUTHORITARIAN. Ok, what does that mean? What does that look like? I think the author went into great detail in this chapter and gave some great examples of what being in authority should (and should not!) look like.
|A teacher being a “kind authority”, giving clear direction & instruction – not afraid to “be in charge”|
Point #1 – We are confused about what authority looks like
The author says it best…
“The culture in which you live does not have a biblical understanding of authority. We think of authority as derived either from overwhelming force or consent. Therefore, the only way we can respond is either with rebellion or servility. Our culture has no notion of intelligent, thinking persons willingly placing themselves under authority. When we allow our children to become independent decision makers we give them a false idea of liberty and a mistaken notion about freedom. Freedom is not found in autonomy, it is found in obedience. (Ps 119:44-45)”
|For the child’s safety – the instructor is “in charge”|
Point #2 – We are called to be in charge!
Genesis 18:19 – Jehovah says, “I have chosen him (Abraham), so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just…”
Abraham was on GOD’S MISSION. He was performing this task on God’s agenda (NOTE: not our own!)
Deut. 6:1-9 – ..you shall teach them (God’s words) diligently…
Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Understanding that parents and children alike are under God’s authority will help you. You’re job is to teach your children, train them, bring them up in the ways of God. Your children are called to obey you, as the authority God has placed in their lives. You may have different roles, but the same Master! (awesome!)
Unholy Anger – this is when we allow our temper to get out of control. Your right to discipline your child is tied to what God has called you to do, not to your own agenda! We may think we are using “righteous anger” but, really, we are many times just angry because we aren’t getting what we want.
Point #3 – Children are called to obedience
Children lack maturity, wisdom and life experience. They need the direction and protection of kind and gentle parents who are willing to be in charge.
This was a great example of how a conversation should go, when we are in the process of correcting our child:
Parent: You didn’t obey mommy/daddy did you?
Parent: Do you remember what God says mommy/daddy must do if you disobey?
Child: Correct me? (this could be any number of pre-communicated punishments – but, PLEASE always make the punishment fair, and in-kind to the disobedience)
Parent: That’s right. I must __________. If I don’t, then I would be disobeying God. You and I would both be wrong. That would not be good for you or for me, would it?
Notice – the parent isn’t out-of-control screaming. It is a conversation. The child isn’t SCARED. Correction should always be handled reasonably and when you are calm. If you are angry – don’t correct…there is no reason why you cannot bring correction later.
A note about offering choices: The author makes some wonderful points about offering choices to children. Many of us, as parents have heard the line, “How will they learn to make choices unless they learn to make decisions?” I would say that is true for older teens, but they also have a heart that is open to hear their parents advice &/or correction. For children, when they receive so many options, they learn one thing: THEY ARE THE DECISION-MAKERS. The parent only suggests the options.
Your other option is to guide your children and give direction – the child will learn how to make good decisions by watching a faithful parent model and instruct in wise decision-making on their behalf.
Point #4 – No place for anger!
I have heard many times, that parents feel displays of anger are good for the children, because it gives them a fear of their parent. And yes, it may even get some good behavior out of the child because, of the fear that is instilled. You may not feel that way, you may just have a hard time keeping your cool. Let’s look at what God’s word says about that….
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20
The author makes a beautiful point, you may get a child that is better behaved, but it will not bring about biblical righteousness.
The book defines correction this way: let’s memorize this!!!
Correction is not displaying your anger at their offenses; it is rather reminding them that their sinful behavior offends God.
|Great communication – down on their level, in control, speaking – not yelling across the room, slamming doors, etc!|
Point #5 – Correction is a benefit to the child
Proverbs 15:5, 29:15 – God says the rod of correction imparts wisdom, and whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
Proverbs 15:32 – He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
The author says, he was amazed and humbled to see his children in their late teens and twenties accepting correction from him as a parent, not because he, their dad was always right, but because they viewed their dad as God’s agent, and the correction would bring them understanding. That is an awesome testimony!
I Thessalonians 2:11-12
1. In what ways to you observe parents being unwilling to provide direction for their children?
Meditate on Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Allow God to work through you and purge out your “old thoughts” about authority and begin to see the beauty in authority when it is used in a manner that is pleasing to God. Enjoy your study!!
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