Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” *Bible Version: New Living Translation (NLT)

Discipline is often misunderstood to turn a person into a machine. We will not do ourselves any favors to even try. People are obviously no robots and mankind will never run like well-oiled machinery. There will always be surprises. Family life is full of them and before applying any disciplinary action we will need to apply discretion.

In connection with disciplining children, corporal punishment comes to mind. Corporal punishment refers to intentional application of physical pain as a method of changing behavior. Spanking is the most common form. The use of spanking as a disciplinary method remains controversial. A better way is leading an honorable life, which will also build honor and respect in our family relationships in the long run. Granted, this takes more effort on the side of the parents but really makes more sense to the children.

A father and mother cannot expect children to respect them if both parents have double standards and lead a hypocritical life. This leads me to believe that raising children is probably a more disciplinary event for the parents than it is for their children. We need to do our homework first and get our values straight before even trying to apply them to our offspring.

We are God’s handiwork, and we need to be treated with respect. The keyword in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is “discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Man-made discipline is often harsh and unyielding. Lord-induced discipline comes from knowing the Lord, and the Lord is gentle. He teaches us discipline while giving us a lot of room for grace.

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