The only perfect parent that has ever existed is God Himself.
He raised the perfect Son in and through the person of Jesus Christ. But He’s also the parent to every person who claims to know Him as Savior and Lord. God is our Heavenly Father.
The picture and comparisons that are made in the Scriptures to illustrate our relationship with God as a Father abound, and can be a great and beneficial resource for those of us who are parents. As we see how God “parents” us as His children, we can see principles come to light that we need to put into practice in our own parenting efforts.
Of course, we know that God makes no mistakes (Psalm 18:30), therefore, His pattern is a perfect pattern worth following.
I’ve sought counsel from some great parents over the years, but what if we could get personal counsel from the only Perfect Parent that ever lived? The good news is that we can! And His perfect parenting principles are found unhidden in the pages of Scripture. Here are a few child-rearing tips to remember from a perfect parent:
1. DISCIPLINE IS A PROOF OF LOVE
Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
I’m thankful to have grown up in a home where my parents disciplined me consistently. As much as I didn’t like it, I never saw their discipline or correction as something that made me want to hate or despise them, because it was never done out of hatred or anger. Rather, their discipline confirmed their love for me.
I was disciplined many times as a child, yet I can honestly say that there was never a time that I can remember growing up when I didn’t feel loved.
It makes me a bit queasy when I hear a parent say something like, “I just love my kids too much to spank them.” WHAT!? Biblically speaking, that’s an oxymoronic statement. According to the example of our Heavenly Father, He disciplines us because He loves us, not the other way around.
The next time we’re tempted as parents to take the easy way out and overlook our children’s offenses for the sake of convenience, let’s remember that as much as we hate having to discipline them, our love for our kids must be greater than our hatred for disciplining them. Because just like our Heavenly Father, our discipline is proof of our love.
2. DISCIPLINE IS AN EVIDENCE OF SONSHIP
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
We’ve all seen that kid acting up in the store that we wish we could have a quick 5 minute “heart to heart” with behind the woodshed. 🙂 But, unfortunately, we all know that’s not how it works. As a general rule, I don’t discipline other people’s kids. However, I don’t have any problem disciplining my own kids.
Your kids can run around like a bunch of little hoodlums and I may stand there and do little to nothing, because if I disciplined them every time I thought they needed it, you probably wouldn’t think too fondly of me. But when my kids act like little hoodlums, I’m going to “crack the whip.” (the rod, actually) Why? Because those kids are mine. I’m the one responsible for them and how they turn out. My discipline towards them is an evidence to others that they belong to me.
God’s Word teaches that it’s a beautiful thing when children endure chastening from their fathers, because they are being lovingly dealt with as sons. Simply put, discipline is an evidence of sonship.
3. DISCIPLINE IS A MEANS TO AN END
Hebrews 12:6 & 11 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth… Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grevious; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Let’s be completely honest, I hate disciplining my children. It brings me no joy to have to see them hurt. And I’m not the only one… my children hate being disciplined as well.
It reminds me of the story of a little boy who said to his father, “Dad, if this really hurts you more than it hurts me, then why don’t you just save both of us the pain and we’ll call it good.”
While discipline is never pleasant for either party involved, it’s always beneficial for both. And the reason is because “it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” The words “peaceable fruit” sound so very good together, don’t they? And how much better they look when they are seen produced in the hearts and lives of our children.
If you’re a parent who disciplines your children biblically, you understand the great peace that comes to both parent and child following times of correction. There’s a wonderful spirit of love, unity, and righteousness that comes through discipline that overlooking an offense never brings. In fact, when parents fail to faithfully enforce what they expect, there’s usually resentment, bitterness, and anger that follows for both parties involved.
Discipline in the home must be a means to an end. We must always parent with the end result in mind – children with an equal amount of respect for authority and love for God. Consider these verses I shared a few weeks ago. They are so applicable to this point of disciplining as a means to an end:
Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Mom and Dad, let me encourage you that when discipline gets tough, and you feel like pulling your hair out and throwing in the towel, remember to keep your eyes on the prize! Discipline with the end in mind.
- Your kids may not thank you for it now, but they will one day.
- You may think it’s not worth the hassle, but it will be.
- When it seems like there must be an easier way, stay faithful to God’s plan.
Your kids are your biggest God-given project at this stage of your life, so commit to the work it takes to raising them right.
“Be your child’s parent now, so you can be your child’s friend forever.”
Too many parents over the years have given up too much too soon with their children, and as a result, they’ve forfeited the peaceable fruit of righteousness in the future. They chose to be more of a friend than a parent, when their kids needed a parent, not a friend. And now, sadly, many of their grown children treat them like they’re neither.
Mom and Dad,use discipline as a means to an end. Parent your kids for 18 years, and you can enjoy the fruit of their friendship for a lifetime. I guarantee you, that regardless of how your children turn out, it will be worth having done it God’s way.
If you want to have the greatest possible chance of success in your parenting, learn to follow the example of the only perfect parent, God Himself. And when you do that, you can leave the rest in His hands, trusting, come what may.