Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"I Hate You... I'm Going to Kill You"

I read recently where mother from Texas was sentenced to probation, and lost custody of her children--for spanking her daughter! "Rosalina Gonzales of Corpus Christi pleaded guilty on Wednesday to injury to a child for swatting the two-year-old on her buttocks."

More than 53 million babies have been murdered in America through abortion, and the law says that's okay. No crime has been committed. But a judge makes a criminal out of a mother who disciples her child, and then he takes her children from her, leaving them without a mother. 

Judge Jose Longoria said, "In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don't spank children." What planet does this judge live on? In days of old we didn't have kids who murdered their parents, shot their schoolmates, lied daily, stole whatever they wanted, blasphemed as a normal part of conversation, or killed themselves with drugs and alcohol.

How is a parent supposed to discipline a child? Andy Griffith used the woodshed. But that was in the days of old, when Americans didn't even need to lock their doors. Nowadays we do. Today our prisons are full of people who weren't given proper boundaries at home, and now they have immovable boundaries given to them by the government.

In Psalm 1, Scripture gives us a clear picture of what a godly person should be, as well as the reward of this godliness.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper" (vv. 1–3).

Let's meditate on these verses to truly understand their meaning and consider how they apply to parenting.

God says that you are blessed (highly favored) if you don't listen to the world's advice. If you are tempted to heed the "counsel of the ungodly," consider that the world’s "ex¬perts" believe mankind evolved from monkeys. A little thought on our part should help us see why it's wise not to listen to their ramblings, but rather listen to what the Creator has to say.

The fruit of the world's godless advice is seen in the headlines of the daily news. Their counsel may sound right, but so often it proves to be wrong. For example, the world says that if you love your children, you will never physically discipline them. It says to seek alternatives rather than inflicting physical pain.

In the Book of Proverbs, written by the wisest man who ever lived, God's Word gives the following counsel:

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15)

"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." (Proverbs 29:15)

It's commonly said that he who spares the rod spoils the child, but God's Word actually puts it more strongly:

"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." (Proverbs 13:24, emphasis added)

So there's your choice: listen to what seems right, or do what God says is right.

As parents, we should always do what the Word of God says to do, and often that's not easy. Applying the rod of correction (often called "the board of education") to "the seat of learning" takes resolution, as well as courage. But love will do it. The Bible says that in doing so you will save your children from hell (see Proverbs 23:13,14), and what parents want their children to go to end up in hell?

We should value the eternal welfare of our children, rather than our own temporal anxiety when it comes to applying discipline.

The contrast between God's ways and the world's ways were clearly demonstrated in an incident that occurred when our eldest son, Jacob, was six years old. We had a neighbor who would never even think of physically disciplining her six-year-old. When he refused to go to school, she would simply bribe him with candy.

One day Jacob said a word to his mother that he wasn't supposed to say. I sent him to his room, and then followed him a moment later. I asked him if he knew that what he said was wrong. He admitted that he did. I then told him to bend over his bed, and resolutely gave him a swift swat across his rear with a small stick. He burst into tears. I went to get him a tissue, then left him for ten minutes.

When I returned, I knelt down in front of him and we hugged. I then looked him in the eyes and said, "I want you to pray and ask God to forgive you, then go out to your mother and tell her that you are sorry." He did just that.

A few minutes later I was helping Sue dry the dishes while Jacob sat at the table, thoughtfully holding a pencil and paper. Suddenly I felt a tug on my shirt. It was Jacob. He reached up and handed me a note. It read: "I love my dad."

This made no sense to me. I had just caused him physical pain, yet even as a six-year-old he could discern that my motive was love. 

In contrast, the neighbor's six-year-old would point a toy gun at his mother and say, "I hate you, I hate you. I'm going to kill you!" Of course, he wasn't disciplined for that either.

Tragically, the world refuses to use the rod of correction to drive "foolishness" from the hearts of their children. The foolishness therefore remains in their hearts as they grow (atheism is a case in point), and many children bring their parents nothing but grief by ending up pregnant, in prison, with drug or alcohol problems, or with broken marriages.

Adapted from How to Bring Your Children to Christ, and Keep Them There.

Picture: Andrew Bardwell, Cleveland, Ohio.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do You Teach Your Kids the Gospel or Law?

Everything that isn’t gospel is law. Let us say it again: everything that isn’t gospel is law.

Don't breed despair in your kids

Every way we try to make our kids good that isn’t rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law. We won’t get the results we want from the law. We’ll get either shallow self-righteousness or blazing rebellion or both (frequently from the same kid on the same day!). We’ll get moralistic kids who are cold and hypocritical and who look down on others, or you’ll get teens who are rebellious and self-indulgent and who can’t wait to get out of the house. We have to remember that in the life of our unregenerate children, the law is given for one reason only: to crush their self-confidence and drive them to Christ.

The law doesn't make us good

The law also shows believing children what gospel-engendered gratitude looks like. But one thing is for sure: we aren’t to give our children the law to make them good. It won’t, because it can’t. In our hearts we know that’s true because the law hasn’t made us good, either, has it?
Every way we try to make our kids good that isn’t rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law.
The story of Jonah isn’t about learning to be obedient or facing the consequences. The story of Jonah is about how God is merciful to both the religiously self-righteous, unloving Pharisee (Jonah) and the irreligious, violent pagan. The story is a story about God’s ability to save souls and use us even when we disobey. It’s a story about God’s mercy not our obedience. Here’s how a conversation with a child would differ if we were giving gospel instead of law:
    “Good job, Joshua! Now what does the story teach us?” Mom asked.
    Caleb’s hand was the first one up. “It means that we should obey when God tells us to do something, like go tell people about God.”
    “Yes, Caleb, we are to obey God but that’s not the primary message of the story. Can you think of any other message?”
    Jordan piped up. “Lots of times people don’t want to obey God.”
    “Right, Jordan! That’s exactly right. I know that it’s hard for me to obey. I’m just like Jonah, too. Can you think of any other messages? No? Then let me help you. This story is a message about how kind and merciful God is. He was kind to the bad people from Nineveh because he didn’t destroy them even though they deserved it. He was kind to them by making them believe the message that Jonah told them. But he was also kind to Jonah. Even though Jonah didn’t love his neighbors (the people from Nineveh), God didn’t leave him to die in the belly of a big fish, although that was what he deserved. Instead he gave him another chance and kept giving him chances even though Jonah didn’t really love God or his merciful nature. God gives us so many opportunities to obey him because he loves us and is so merciful. God shows us how he loves us because his dear Son, Jesus, spent three days in a very dark place just like Jonah did. He spent three days in a grave after dying for our sins. But then he rose again from the dead so that we could be good in God’s eyes and tell other people about how loving he is. Can you think of some things we could do so that other people would know about God’s love?”
    Different answers were shouted out. “We could bake cookies for our neighbors and invite them to church! We could offer to do chores for them, too!”
    “Right! Now let’s celebrate God’s mercy and have a party with some goldfish crackers and blue Jell-O I’ve made.”
    Adapted from Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, © 2011. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,
    Originally Posted at 

Coffee For Dad - Skit Guys

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Love Your Wife!

The Danger of Moralistic Parenting

If a majority of our children are leaving the faith as soon as they can, something has gone terribly wrong.

Certainly the faith that has empowered the persecuted church for two millennia isn’t as thin and boring as “Say you’re sorry,” “Be nice,” and “Don’t be like them.” Why would anyone want to deny himself, lay down his life, or suffer for something as inane as that? Aside from the “Ask Jesus into your heart” part, how does this message differ from what any unchurched child or Jewish young person would hear every day?

Turning God into Santa

Let’s face it: most of our children believe that God is happy if they’re “good for goodness’ sake.” We’ve transformed the holy, terrifying, magnificent, and loving God of the Bible into Santa and his elves. And instead of transmitting the gloriously liberating and life-changing truths of the gospel, we have taught our children that what God wants from them is morality. We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith.

This isn’t the gospel; we’re not handing down Christianity. We need much less of Veggie Tales and Barney and tons more of the radical, bloody, scandalous message of the God-man crushed by his Father for our sin.

Instead of the gospel of grace, we’ve given them daily baths in a 'sea of narcissistic moralism.'

This other thing we’re giving our children has a name—it’s called “moralism.” Here’s how one seminary professor described his childhood experience in church:

The preachers I regularly heard in the . . . church in which I was raised tended to interpret and preach Scripture without Christ as the central . . . focus. Characters like Abraham and Paul were commended as models of sincere faith and loyal obedience. . . . On the other hand, men like Adam and Judas were criticized as the antithesis of proper moral behavior. Thus Scripture became nothing more than a source book for moral lessons on Christian living, whether good or bad.

Teaching Good Manners Instead of Salvation

When we change the story of the Bible from the gospel of grace to a book of moralistic teachings like Aesop’s fables, all sorts of things go wrong. Unbelieving children are encouraged to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit even though they are spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). Unrepentant children are taught to say that they’re sorry and ask for forgiveness even though they’ve never tasted true Godly sorrow. Unregenerate kids are told they are pleasing to God because they have achieved some “moral victory.”

Good manners have been elevated to the level of Christian righteousness. Parents discipline their kids until they evidence a prescribed form of contrition, and others work hard at keeping their children from the wickedness in the world, assuming that the wickedness within their children has been handled because they prayed a prayer one time at Bible club.

The Bible Isn’t a Book of Fairy Tales

If our “faith commitments” haven’t taken root in our children, could it be because they have not consistently heard them? Instead of the gospel of grace, we’ve given them daily baths in a “sea of narcissistic moralism,” and they respond to law the same way we do: they run for the closest exit as soon as they can.

Good manners have been elevated to the level of Christian righteousness.

Moralistic parenting occurs because most of us have a wrong view of the Bible. The story of the Bible isn’t a story about making good little boys and girls better. As Sally Lloyd-Jones writes in The Jesus Storybook Bible:

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne—everything—to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life.

This is the story that our children need to hear and, like us, they need to hear it over and over again.

Originally Posted at