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to learn. Your children are unconsciously looking to you to teach them how to navigate the increasingly complex maze of today’s world.

Think of little minds as clay. You can literally mold them into whatever you choose—good or bad.

The greatest gift you can give to your child is to train him in God’s Way. Notice: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and [margin: even] when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

After your 18 to 20 years of good stewardship, your children will produce positive fruit!

Never Let Discipline Become Abuse

The wise parent recognizes the proper and timely use of physical discipline. He or she never disciplines out of anger—when emotions have been allowed to get out of control. The results can prove to be disastrous, in more ways than one.

We have already mentioned parental violence against children. Children must always be understood to be little people who have absolutely no way of defending themselves. Remember that you are almost certainly much bigger, much stronger, and weigh much more than even the largest of your children.

Keep this in mind at all times. Your child must never be given the opportunity to think that he is the object of your uncontrolled wrath—or the victim of an assault. There is not a single good thing that will come from administering this kind of discipline, and your child will come to resent and even hate you for it. He must recognize that you are disciplining out of a pure motive of concern for his long- term well-being.

Yet, remember that discipline must never be merely “love taps” to a child or it will accomplish nothing. The child must know that spanking is something he or she does not want to experience—for any reason! This alone becomes a reason why spanking, done prop- erly, usually becomes a rarity.

Is God’s Way Harsh?

Let’s momentarily examine how God dealt with rebellious teens in ancient Israel: “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which

The Biblical Doctrine of Childrearing


will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and re- bellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shall you put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear” (Deut. 21:18-21).

Notice that God told the Israelites to actually put to death—ex- ecute!—teenagers who refused to obey their parents or respect au- thority.

This sounds harsh, even barbaric, in today’s world, but God un- derstood what was at stake for His society if such a rotten attitude was unleashed upon it for an entire lifetime.

Understand that God set this standard to be an example. Upon witnessing such a graphic execution—and probably of one who was at least an acquaintance—how many teens would even think about rebelling against their parents? Few—if any! God’s punishment was actually merciful. And, in the end, it SAVED many lives, and resulted in many obedient, respectful teenagers. Very few would have to die, because they would not dare to break God’s Fifth Commandment— “Honor your father and mother”—if they knew it would have cost them their lives!

At that time, God carried out punishment within His Law very quickly. He did not waste months and years of trials, retrials, appeals and the like, as do the time-and-money-consuming courts of men. Unfortunately, mankind, cut off from God (Isa. 59:1-2), has not learned this lesson. Notice: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecc. 8:11).

God moved swiftly to administer justice in a carnal-minded so- ciety, one whose citizens did not have His Holy Spirit. The ancient Israelites did not have the opportunity to repent spiritually—to change and grow from carnal ways to the ways of God.

Today, God administers justice in a spirit-minded society—His Church! True Christians do have the power of God’s Spirit dwelling in them to change from the “way that seems right unto a man” to the way that produces real peace and true happiness. Certainly, it is not God’s purpose to put Christians to death. In His mercy, He has given

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