Thursday, October 29, 2009

Forgiveness vs. Consequences...

Newton said, "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".

I think this is a good rule to apply to children. My DH used to often say, 'let the punishment fit the crime'.

1John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I think this is a good principle to follow as parents. If they confess, we can forgive. However, we can't cleanse them, not their hearts. We can't see repentance in their heart, therefore we have to examine their fruits; Luke 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance/Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
We also have to follow the principles of Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go. Yes, even if they don't want to hear it. For them to protest on any level when dealing with correction, is still rebellion. 1 Pet 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. We must insist that they obey this principle because if they will not submit to us, how could we ever expect that they would submit to God?

Suffice it to say, we can forgive while still enforcing a consequence.

Prov 20:30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
That verse supports some pretty strong consequences! Now for safety's sake- we live in a day and age when you have to be very careful how and where you discipline a child- that said, consequences to bad behavior still must be enforced. For example, if you have told your child, "if you do that again, then I'm gonna...." -you best make sure that if they do THAT again that you enforce that 'gonna'! Don't threaten- take action!

Let me illustrate a little more.
If Mr. and Mrs. Jones gives little teenage Johnny a cell phone for Christmas with a set of rules such as:
-if you ever sneak and use this at night you will lose the phone for 30 days
-if you ever do anything naughty on the phone you will lose it for good.
Then 7 months later, Mrs. Jones gets up at midnight and hears Johnny talking in his room and discovers that he his on his beloved cell phone, then she is wise if she immediately makes good on her promise. Can she forgive him and love him? Yes, certainly but she'd better keep her word or she will take away from her authority in the child's eyes.

Well, 18 months later let's say that Johnny's parents discovers that he has an inappropriate picture on his phone that one of his friends have sent. Well, the parents are still under a contract with the phone! Not to mention little Johnny has football practice and sometimes needs to call them when its time to pick him up. The price of keeping your 'authoritative position' with a child is worth more than the contract will cost on the phone, don't you think?

You see, there must be consequences.
Why? Because God has them too and they are pretty steep!
We are training them to obey Him and understand that His consequences are very real too and He does FOREVER keep His Word.

May God help us to be faithful and press on!

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