Tuesday, February 19, 2013


From Beth Templeton:

We want to get at the hearts of our children, because when we correct behavior without reaching the heart, we bring our child under the law, which brings them under condemnation. (2 Corinthians 3:9) And we know from Romans 8:1-3 that

"now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins."

External Structures and Internal Beliefs
I’m all for changing behavior! I’d much rather have a child not whine than whine, or not lie than lie. Absolutely! But we don’t want to be like the Pharisees whose focus was primarily and even solely on the externals, never getting to the heart.                                         
“For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy-- full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” Matthew 23:25-26 
Applied to parenting, this approach is more of a focus on the cultural rather than the structural realities in our homes. In other words, in Grace we have the freedom to go beyond the external structures created by our rules, into the inward beliefs and ways of thinking found behind our child's actions. I know Stephen and I have found that this issue of deep inward beliefs and thoughts is especially critical for our adopted children, for they have experienced things in their own lives that have "told" them lies about themselves and about the world they live in. You know these ugly "friends" that whisper things in your precious child's ear--
"you don't belong. you are bad. there is something wrong with you. you are a victim. you are rejected. you can trust no one. you are, in the end, alone. you need to do what it takes to survive. you don't have what it takes. no one understands you....." 
These lies are so deeply rooted, and I often find myself so very thankful, once again, for the Amazing and Powerful Grace that is my inheritance as we love our children, for Grace is greatly needed. As I mentioned in my previous post, sometimes we just wish we could slap a good rule on the problem and walk away, but instead we see the Lord, Emmanuel, God With Us- calling us to do as He did for us-- to walk straight into that place of lack or that lie or that fear in our child's heart and love them from the inside out. 

Training and Punishment We have written in past blog posts about the difference between parenting with training and discipline rather than with punishment. (Take a look here, and here.) It is so helpful as we learn to parent from the inside out to have clarity about the difference. 

To train is to develop or form the habits, thoughts or behavior of a child by discipline and instruction.

So, training is something we do to help our child move forward. It is focused on their Identity and Destiny in Christ. We train for the purpose of moving them into that Identity and Destiny. We train in preparation for what is ahead. 
With training and discipline we teach our child how to grasp the effective love of God for themselves and to enjoy the free gift of their inheritance and all the benefits of that powerful love, not to avoid the need for it! 
Training recognizes sinful behavior as an opportunity to teach and shepherd rather than seeing it as something that should be quickly hidden from view. Training embraces the opportunity, messy and unpleasant as it may often be, to love a child in and then through an issue so that what is hidden is brought into the light and exposed to love and discipline.

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.” 

Ephesians 6:4
“Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.”

Psalm 32:8-9
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.”

Directing the Flow
I love the definition of the word used for Teach in Psalm 32. It is the word yarah-- to instruct, direct; to point, shoot, aim; to cast in a straight manner; to direct the flow of something.

The way God teaches us when we need to be corrected is to direct the flow of our lives, of our behavior, so that we are pointed in the forward direction of our destiny in Him. 

Note the difference with punishment--
Punishment is a penalty inflicted as payment for an offense or fault. So, where training is forward looking, punishment is backward looking. It seeks to exact payment for something that as happened in the past.

As we love our children from the Inside Out, let's set our hearts to train and correct our children knowing the the issue of their sin has been dealt with on the cross, freeing us up to focus on directing the flow of their lives in the direction of their destiny rather than focus on dealing with their sin. 

Next time I'll share some thoughts on the role of rules and boundaries as we Parent in Grace. 

Join us on Facebook!

No comments:

Post a Comment