Session 3 - Part 1: Solutions
Audio File

"How many times do I have to tell you the same thing?" Mom yelled. Tears began to form in Sally's eyes and her little body trembled. "Well, that's the last straw!" Mother continued, "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times and I am not going to put up with your nonsense for one more minute! Up to your room young lady, and stay there!"

Sobbing Sally ran up the stairs with her mother in hot pursuit. Opening the door to her room she rushed in and threw herself upon her bed. Then she heard the sound that she dreaded more than any other she had experienced in her short six years… the closing of her door.

THUD! What a final sound it was. Sally could hear her mother's footsteps fading down the wooden stairs and then silence. She was alone, cut off from the ones she loved. In fact, the whole experience actually made her question love at all. Was this the way you treat those you love? How long would she be trapped, separated. Hopelessness and fear began to creep in. She had so many thoughts rushing through her little mind... some of them were not very nice.

Many parents feel that spanking a small child is cruel and barbaric. Some will even tell you that it is child abuse! I would suggest to you that there is nothing more abusive than sending a young child into purgatory.

In my opinion, there is nothing more cruel then sending your child into a man made "Purgatory".
Let's use a dictionary and define this word and discover it's meaning.
Purgatory: a place or condition of suffering, expiation, or remorse.

From my perspective, this is what you do to a child when you send them to their room. You have separated yourself from your child and left them in a state of unforgiveness! I hope and pray that you never experience a severing of the relationship between you and your Heavenly Father even for a moment. (By the way, we represent God to our children until they establish their own relationship with him!).

In fact, we do indeed experience this feeling of separation each time we sin and fail to repent. The difference here is that whenever we choose to turn back to him, we are reconciled! In the case of our children, they are cut off till we choose to allow them back into the kingdom (i.e. open the door).

Now I am in no way suggesting that there should be no consequences, I am merely pointing out that this is not the Bible prescribed method of discipline. Often people do not discipline at all, rather they punish. Punishment is entirely different that discipline. Discipline is a controlled arrangement with the intent to correct, or improve a person's situation. Punishment is the application of consequences brought on by previously performed deeds. In other words, discipline is intended to make you better. Punishment is meant to pay you back.

Discipline is meant to improve the person - Punishment is meant to pay back or get even

The Christian walk is discipline!!!! Biblical punishment is called HELL!

I am addressing this issue in very strong terms because it is an area that has such a long lasting effect on the lives of our children. How we teach and train our children is how they learn to relate to God's instruction. Do they believe we intend to do them good or harm?

It is much easier to lay a correct foundation than it is to dig under, remove and replace an improper one. It is imperative to build our lives upon the rock of Christ and His word. We must look into the Bible and see what it actually says. If we do not line up with His Word, we must change, even if it goes against our feelings and traditions. It doesn't matter how you think things should be, God's word is always right. The results of following its instructions will be life itself.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16 NIV)

Once again we come to the bottom line, we are sinners, as our parents before us were, as our children after us will be! We are sinners by nature in need of a Savior.

Sin is painful to God and the penalty for sin also is painful as we clearly see in the all too graphic description of Jesus suffering on the cross (see Ps 22, Is 53, or any of the Gospel accounts of his death).

Why do we find it so strange that physical spanking (the inflicting of pain) is the Bible prescription for the sickness of sin in our children? The Proverbs are full of passages detailing the need for spanking children. Here I have listed a few choosing from several different translations. If you don't like my choices, look them up yourself at your leisure, then check the original language and see if the choice of the ancient Hebrews wasn't physical discipline!

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
(Prov. 13:24 NIV) (Please note that the KJV version translates the word careful as promptly. In other words, do it now!)

Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
(Prov. 19:18 NIV) (Again the KJV version is a little more colorful and says don't let your soul spare for his crying.)

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
(Prov. 22:15 NIV)

Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you beat him with the rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from Sheol. (Prov 23:13-14 NAS)

The concept of physical discipline is not reserved to the Old Testament either... and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives."It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom {his} father does not discipline? (Heb 12:5-7 NAS)

Babies, toddlers, adolescence, as well as the rest of us respond quickly to pain. It is a safety device, which God intended for our protection. It also serves as part of our education. Physical discipline, consequences, and restitution are the only forms of correction discussed in the Bible. Let's keep the words consequences and restitution in the back of our minds and we will return to them a little later. As believers, we must recognize that sin (disobedience and all other forms of sin) cause pain! We have come to a place in our society where genuine values have been replaced with a sliding scale. Since there often are no apparent consequences to a particular action it is deemed O.K. This is a lie! If you want to see the results of any and all sin, look at Jesus on the cross... hanging from his wrists, suffocation in his own fluids, stripped naked before the world. That is what sin is! It is pain in the ultimate sense of the word.

Sin is painful to God and the penalty for sin also is painful

It is good for us to teach our children that wrong decisions and disobedience cause pain, even if those results cannot always been seen immediately. I am really sorry if this offends anyone, but it is the truth! Read your Bible and you will see for yourself.

Here is a very interesting scripture that applies to our present topic, "When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong". (Eccl 8:11 NIV) Let's all take notice of the word "quickly" it is not placed here by me! King Solomon wrote it and the council of Nicene thought it was inspired by God that is why it is in our Bibles.

Children that are left in detention have not paid their penalty. You may argue that they are in the process of paying the price for their wrongdoing. This may be completely logical to you as an adult, but children (especially little children) do not relate to things in the same logical way that you do.

I personally can remember being sent to my room. I did not spend that time repenting for my sins, did you? Most often I was thinking dark evil thoughts just like the passage of scripture we just read said would happen.

There I was, justifying my behavior and convincing myself of the injustice that was being done to me. Over the years I have had many encounters with the dark forces from the spirit world, (mostly in the form of thoughts) who do you think is whispering in the ear of your children while they are alone in their bedrooms?

It is imperative that the act of discipline be brought to a conclusion. Then and only then are you able to come to your child's aid in their battle against sin. The Devil is waiting to crush their spirit and turn them against you; this is not God's plan.

When placed in time out did you spend your time repenting or becoming embittered?

Many times in my personal experience, I have seen a child actually become more hostile and disobedient after being confronted with wrongdoing. Talking to them was impossible, and until physical discipline was applied, they were out of control. Then, suddenly, after receiving a spanking, they became like another person. The "evil twin" that had replaced my child was gone, and in a heartbeat, all was back to normal.

I am aware that there are other ways to learn that do not include pain. Let's look at two scriptures from the Proverbs of Solomon to illustrate the difference between these two types of discipline.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer". (Pr 9:10-12 NIV)

"Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment". (Prov. 10:13NIV)

The higher road to discipline is the one that doesn't require physical pain. These are the paths of the wise. They are entered through the fear of the Lord. This is the beginning of wisdom, and children tend to have that commodity in short supply. However, as they begin to gain wisdom, you are able to change the ways in which you discipline them. Hooray!!!

We have begun to reach the level of reason. This is the point that most parents have dreamed about. You know what I mean, you and your son or daughter watching the sun set together. You have your arm draped over their shoulder as you explain the mysteries of the universe to them.... trouble is, this method doesn't work on toddlers!!!

As your children begin to mature and gain wisdom, the way in which you can discipline them also changes, and I say Hooray to that. No one likes to receive discipline and few like to give it.

Now back to consequences and restitution. These are items, which also seemed to have slipped from the collective consciousness of the society in which we live. We however are not supposed to be of this world society, but are rather ambassadors from another kingdom. So we must use the standards of that kingdom to train our children.

If an athlete does not properly prepare for an event in which he or she is to compete, the consequences will be failure. It is also possible that poor performance may result in their dismissal from the team. Children must learn that their actions bring results. If we do the right things according to his Word and those he has placed in authority over us, the results will usually be what we want. If we do not follow his plan and the instructions of those he has given for our maturing, the results will not be pleasant. There will be consequences.

Just because the child has received a spanking, that does not mean he or she should not also bear the consequences of their actions (this is an area where I have struggled over the years. God has provided my children with a mother who will not accept a sliding scale! Isn't it interesting how God has arranged the perfect combination in a marriage to bring balance. Most of you reading this book probably thought I was the tough guy! Ha, I'm the merciful one ... ask my kids).

Ah but I stray off my topic ... we shall speak more about God's system of checks and balances in the chapter titled Endurance.

Now, as we return to our subject, let's simplify our title. I suggest we call it to spank or not to spank. I say this because there is so much news press on child abuse, so many relatives with their opinions, so many experts in the field.

As a teacher of the Bible, a parent of some thirty nine years, and a fellow member of the body of Christ, I have soooo many opinions that I would love to voice. However, I believe that life is an opportunity given to us by God so we can grow up and look more like Jesus. Therefore, I will not tell you what to do!!!! I will gladly offer you some principles, and some common sense solutions, which have worked for us in our home, but you must seek God and ask him for wisdom. Remember, I no longer have any theories on child rearing! All children are different. The best position to have regarding spanking is on your knees!

Jerry's Principles and Common Sense Solutions:

1. Rules must be clear to the child - I believe that communication is not complete until the person you are speaking to acknowledges it. In other words, do you think the child knows the rule? (by the way, when dealing with little children, "No, No!" Is much better than "Now Johnny, please don't grab Aunt Ethyl's glasses"). I have a rather long beard. I did not allow my children, nor do I allow my grandchildren to pull it! They cannot play with my glasses or poke me in the eye either. Sure it takes a little time and effort to teach them, and may even result in their getting spanked once or twice, but it is worth it.

2. Rules must be in place before the offense - I don't care if the law of the land says that ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. God says in the book of Romans that before the law came, there was no transgression. If you haven't told them, don't discipline them for it. Trust me you'll get another chance!

3. Rules must be consistent - We will discuss this more in another chapter, but for now let's just say that inconsistency confuses children. Try not to do that to them. Now because you have stuck with me this far in what may be a difficult chapter to read, as an added bonus, at no extra charge, I will include several how do I know if I should spank rules

Jerry's "How do I know" if I should spank or not rules:

1. Does the child know the meaning of intelligent discussion? No? then they still need a spanking

2. Was the incident accidental? Yes? Then don't spank the child. (even if you're really upset).

3. Was the child tempted beyond their abilities? (your opinion will have to do!) Yes? Then don't spank them.

As you can see, there are too many possibilities to give you a list of does and don'ts. You are the parents and you must decide how to train your kids.

Reason is a wonderful thing, but it is only an exercise of our intellect. God wants us to be lead by our spirit, not our mind so be careful that you do not give too high a position to intellectual thought. Besides, children have their own logic based on the incomplete information which they posses. Often their logic is flawed because they do not have all the facts. Arguing is not reasoning. You are in charge! God says so! You must set the standards.

There is a big difference between teaching your children and arguing with them. Just who says they have to be involved in every decision that is made? If it's possible for them to choose the blue cup instead of the red one, fine, but let me tell you something, they are not the ones that are qualified to determine when to go to bed or which cereal they should eat.

One more thing before we leave this subject, there are many false types of discipline in place in America today. Do not allow yourself to be deceived. Search the scripture before you try some worldly concept on your children. Some are very negative and actually counterproductive. In fact, if you unmask them, often they are nothing more than bribery or peaceful coexistence. These do not proceed from the mouth of God.

Don't worry child rearing will force you to your knees before God! Here you will have access to true wisdom and grace. The Lord will cover your shortcomings if you will seek his face. Children are not as fragile as some will tell you, and they are very forgiving.

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 18:3-4 NIV)

Session 3 - Part 2: The Set Standard

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it
. (Prov. 22:6 NIV)
Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Prov. 20:11NIV)
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (Prov.14:12;16:25 NIV)

"DAD", John shouted as he ran to meet his father, "I got a zero on my math test!!! All the answers you gave me were wrong! I did all the problems just like you showed me...." What would happen if you taught your children that 2+2 equaled five? Would they believe you? How about telling them that Blue is really Green, or Yellow is Red? This might be a harmless prank, but when crossing the street, it could become a matter of life or death.

People build their lives by measuring it to a standard. This is not always a conscious action, nevertheless, it is a fact of life. God designed us so that we would look up to him and follow his lead. When sin entered the world, mankind became separated from his role model. Our nature requires someone to look up to, so we now look to our parents. Later on in life, we find others to emulate, often these are poor role models. Have you considered the things you are teaching your children? They will most certainly become the foundation upon which they build their lives.

Everyone measures themselves to a standard whether consciously or not - set the right standard

Many years ago my wife and I embarked upon a journey into the wonderful world of Home schooling. The reason we made this radical decision was because we did not like the things, which were being taught in the public education system. The problem was not just the subject matter, nor even the slanted views that were applied to much of the material. The real source of our concern was not what was being taught, but rather whom it was that was doing the teaching.

Now, before you go off the deep end with that last statement, let me add a footnote. I realize that many of our nation's educators are wonderful people. In fact, lots of them are devoted followers of Christ. However, it has been said that we teach a little by what we say, more by what we do, but mostly by who we are. Therefore, it is imperative for each parent to know thoroughly who our children have contact with on a daily basis. The scripture backs up my last statement when it says - "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." (Heb 13:7 NIV)

The key here is to consider the outcome of their way of life! Unfortunately, our lifestyles make it very unlikely that you will have any significant contact with your children's teachers even if you enroll your kids in private schools. So the reality is, you do not know the outcome of their way of life.... in fact you don't know their way of life at all.

At any rate, we made this decision and it was right for us. I am not preaching about Home schooling, the real point here is that God has given you children and he expects you to provide them with a standard upon which to base their lives. Ultimately, that standard is Jesus, but children need very specific instructions as they are growing up in order to keep them on the straight and narrow path. Remember, they are amazingly intelligent, just lacking in information
and experience.

So what exactly are you teaching the little kiddies? Since it is a "little of what you say, more of what you do, but mostly who you are" that really counts... What? You thought I was only going to apply that to the teachers in public schools???? Ha! No way! We are the first and most important teachers in the lives of our children.

We are the most important teachers they have

Children come equipped from the factory with Hypocrisy Detectors! If your life doesn't line up with the things you say, they will be among the first to point this out to you. In the case of older children like teenagers, they will come right out and tell you. Smaller children on the other hand will simply demonstrate their opinion by actions. In other words, they will copy what you do, not what you say. Sadly, this often causes us as parents to discipline our children for copying wrong behavior they have observed in our lives. If we are open to God's rebuke, we recognize this and change. If not, we teach our children a modern day principle called situational ethics. This is when there are no absolutes. Right and wrong are determined by circumstances. Things may be right today, but not tomorrow. Or worse yet, they may be O.K. for you, but not for me. Children are very quick to pick this up and even quicker to apply it to their peers or younger siblings.

I am not speaking about situations, which should of course be governed by reasonable and rational differences such as not allowing you're 10 year old to drive the car even though he or she can reach the pedals. Rather, I am talking about absolutes like Truth, Justice, and, the Christian way

Shall we take a reality check? As always, reality is found in the pages of God's Word, so let's look at some scripture.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law
. (Gal 5:22-23 NIV)

I have chosen this passage of scripture because it pertains to fruit. Fruit as we all know grows on trees and is an excellent indication of the health of the tree. In fact, the fruit is the essence of the tree and Jesus said that this was how we were to know whether people's lives were good or bad and whether or not to follow their example (see Mt.7: 15-20). Furthermore, fruit is the only true indicator that we can count on.

In chapter eleven of the Gospel of Mark, there is an incident recorded that speaks volumes about God's attitude toward fruit. The narrative finds Jesus leaving Jerusalem. As he approached the town of Bethany, he saw a Fig tree in the distance and looked for figs on it because he was hungry (Mark 11:11-14). He found none and so he pronounced a curse upon it. This tree had plenty of leaves and actually appeared to be in excellent health. To Jesus, all that mattered was fruit. No fruit, not a good tree. (By the way, this passage of scripture indicates that it wasn't the season for figs. This could make a person question why Jesus was so hard on the poor little fig tree. A study of the matter will reveal that fig trees keep their fruit through the winter and therefore even though it was not the proper season for ripe fruit, there should have been edible figs on a healthy tree full of leaves. Jesus was not impressed with the foliage. He wanted to see fruit!!!)

Remember, what God said to Samuel the prophet when he was sent to anoint David as king over Israel? Samuel surveyed the sons of Jesse, David's father one by one looking for the one God had chosen. While considering Eliab the eldest, God said to him, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1Sam 16:7NIV) In the same way, we can with confidence say, Man looks at leaves and bark, but God looks for good fruit.

We are now going to do a short Bible study on a passage of scripture that is fundamental for all who would seek to be like Jesus. I am not interested in criticizing the level of your personal walk with Christ, however, let it be clearly stated here that if you think you can speak a Christian lifestyle and not walk it, then you are like a man who looks in a mirror and then when he goes away, he forgets what he really looks like! (See James 1:23-24 NIV)

Now let's look at our scripture - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23 NAS)

Love: We cannot teach our children true love until we have experienced the real love of God. In order to experience God's full love, we must forgive as we have been forgiven. In the book of Luke chapter 7 (look the verse up yourself) we find an account of Jesus visiting a Pharisee's home. There a woman of ill repute washes his feet much to the disgust of the Pharisees. Jesus teaches them that those who are forgiven much love much. Also read the account of the unforgiving servant in Matt.18 who would not forgive his fellow servant a small debt even though the master had forgiven him an insurmountable debt. It is therefore necessary for us as parents to first understand how bad we really are and how good He really is. Then we become qualified to administer the love of God to our children. Be careful not to make your love conditional!!! If your kids misbehave, discipline them for it, never withhold your love! God loved you even when you were a sinner!

Joy: At the time I am writing these words, I am having a most difficult time in my life. I am being tested and refined by my Lord and it seems hard. Often, I am not very happy, but I still have the Joy of my Lord. This is because Joy is in my spirit. It is not an emotion that can be swayed easily by circumstances or situations that can change daily. It is rather an experience based on my relationship with God. The end result of this is that my children who are looking to see the outcome of my life (two teenagers at home, one away at college, and three married whose spouses are now also watching) are able to see the reality of God in my life, and because of this, they are built up in their most holy faith. Teach your children that "weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (Ps. 30:5 KJV)

Peace: Our world is full of confusion. Keeping us too busy and confused to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit, is one of the devil's highest priorities. If we allow ourselves to be constantly bombarded with sensual (I do not mean sexual but rather all manor of sensory input) experiences day and night we will find that we are spiritually handicapped. You can teach your children to embrace peace. Some seem to be afraid of the quiet. It is in these times that we are able to hear clearly the voice of our father... shouldn't this also work for our children?

During the years in which our children were growing up, we went to a non-denominational church of about 150-200 people. We chose to keep our children in the congregation instead of sending them to the nursery. Impossible you say? Not at all I reply. You must be prepared, (we always brought books for the little ones to read or color in as well as quiet snacks. Have you ever heard a child try to quietly open a cookie package? We brought Tupperware) train your children at home that there is such a thing as quiet time. You must also be committed to disciplining them if and when they become unruly even though you may miss that unbelievable word the preacher has for you in order to teach your children about peace. Furthermore, you must demonstrate peace when Johnny spills grape jelly on your new white pants; tracks mud into your clean kitchen; Etc., Etc., Etc.

Please remember, I am not telling you to overlook disobedience, or slothful behavior. Rather let's make it more effective. If you lose your peace, you are no longer able to properly train you kids. An angry parent is more likely to punish (get even) than to discipline.

When a child falls, if the parent is there, they will immediately look at their mom or dad's face. If they see fear or anguish, they will often panic even if they are not really hurt. The parent who is at peace, trusting the Lord for the well being of their offspring teaches the child by his or her actions, lessons that words can never teach.

While playing outside, one of my daughters cut her foot badly enough to require stitches. She was somewhere between two and three years old so the entire emergency room was a real trauma to her. The doctor wanted to strap her onto a board (they call it a papoose board where we live) in order to restrain her arms. The child only wanted to go home. I took charge of my child, looked intently into her eyes and told her we were going to wrap her up so she would stay nice and warm. I held her tight, kept my peace and calmed her spirit. During the ordeal in the emergency room, she became so peaceful that she actually fell asleep while the doctor stitched her foot.

Most certainly the glory belongs to God in that and all circumstances, nevertheless, I was practicing the peace of God, which is a fruit of the Spirit, and it affected my child in a positive way. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7 NIV)

Patience: So there I was, sitting at my Computer writing a section on patience. Man, I was cruisin! My fingers were flying on the keyboard and I felt anointed. I decided to back up the piece I had just written when suddenly instead of zigging I obviously zagged! Next thing I knew, everything I had done for the last several hours was gone. Lost in the nether world! Vanished in an instant!

How do you handle adversity? Do you fly off the handle easily? Do the children get to you while traveling ("are we there yet daddy are we there yet?). Perhaps you're patient with them, but you lack tolerance for your wife, or neighbor, or... maybe you don't like the way (especially the time frame) that God answers your prayers.

In my life in God, (and by the way, the only real life I have is in God) many tests have come and gone. The things that I am most effective in teaching to my children (and any other people who may be watching) are the lessons in life, which have been indelibly written upon the pages of my heart. When I stand firm in the fire, God places the marks of the Cross in the inner parts of my heart.

We cannot expect our children to be patient when we demand instant gratification just like the rest of the world. Many times God would like to work a deep work in our lives for our sakes as well as to demonstrate his faithfulness in clear view of our children (the warriors of Christ of the next generation), but we will not stand still for the lesson.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)

Perseverance, endurance, patience... whatever translation you care to use, teaching this lesson through a transparent life will give your children everything they need to walk with Jesus for the rest of their lives!

Kindness: "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." (Titus 3:4-5 NIV)

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you". (Col 3:12-13 NIV)

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Eph 2:6-7 NIV)

Sometimes the simplest things escape us in the business of life. Jesus was a kind person. He looked for opportunities to express this kindness in the life he lived upon the earth. Kindness is one of the signs of a righteous individual, even regarding how they care for their animals (see Prov.12:10). How much more should we be known as kind in our dealings with people.

As parents, we are to model ourselves after the great Father above. He does all things perfectly and in balanced measure. We must take care to balance all aspects of corrective instruction with kindness. A simple demonstration of understanding goes a long way in winning the heart of a child. This in no way excuses improper or sinful behavior.

Just because God is not tolerant of sin, does not mean he is unaware of our struggle with it. That is why Jesus came, not only to conquer sin, but also so that he could become our great high priest who has been tempted in all the ways that we are daily... but he did not sin! (Heb.4:15). This is a demonstration of kindness. God knowing our weakness does not condemn us for it but rather makes a way for us to escape it.

I have only written a few words about this fruit of the Spirit. This is not because I feel it to be a minor issue rather I commend you to the Scriptures I quoted at the beginning of this section. It is my heartfelt desire that each reader would now take a few moments and re-read these passages and meditate upon them. Let the Holy Spirit work this into your hearts on behalf of your children, and indeed all you meet in life.

Gentleness: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt.11:28-30 NIV)

The King James Version of the Bible translates this word as meekness. I think that this is one of the most misunderstood attributes in all of Christendom. Meek is not weak, and kind is not naive! We live in a society that glorifies the appearance of power and strength on the outside, while ignoring for the most part the inner attributes that make up a life of strong character. It becomes a very sad matter, when the Church of God almighty rejects the truth of God's word in favor of the traditions of men. Look through the scriptures and see who the heroes are.

Moses: Called the meekest man alive
Daniel: Spent hours on his knees
Ezekiel: Lay upon his side on the ground publicly by God's command for more than a year. Then got up, turned to his other side and started again.

The Hall of Fame: (That is what I call those listed in Heb.11) there you will find a long list of meek people who chose God's way rather than their own and meekly suffered the consequences.

Are you a screamer? Do you lose control when things don't go your way? (I am even speaking about when you are 100% correct) Do you make a scene?

Often our children behave in this way and we wonder where did they learn that kind of behavior? We are quick to condemn the Adamic nature as the source for this conduct, but remember... apples fall from apple trees and that kind of response is the direct opposite to meekness. Perhaps the problem is You.

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." (1 Cor. 1:26-27 NIV)

God makes his strength strong in what men call weakness. Leaning heavily upon Jesus is a sign of meekness and it is a wonderful demonstration of faith. Your children are watching.

Goodness: "Hey man, that's bad!!!" Shouted John to his buddies, as they both sat watching their favorite T.V. program. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent." (Is. 5:20-23 NIV)

Our society is corrupt. Therefore the art forms, which emanate from that lifestyle are also very likely to be corrupt. Be very careful how you live, little eyes (not to mention God's eye) are upon you. They will do what you do much more readily than what you say. They will learn to love the type of entertainment you embrace. They will talk your talk, and walk your walk.

Faithfulness: "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war." (Rev 19:11 NIV)

A person who is faithful can be trusted to do what he says he will do. You can count upon this individual. That is what makes having a relationship with Jesus so precious. We know that he will do what he says even if the situation looks hopeless, he is faithful and true. I have said this previously, but it is worth repeating. You represent God to your small children! Until they develop their own relationship with him, you are it!!! If you are not faithful to do the things you say, then be faithful to confess your sins to your children. Please make this a mental note.

Many a believer has wasted precious time trying to overcome their understanding of God based upon the relationship they had with dear old dad or mom. Come on dads and moms, let's get on our white horses and do what is right.

Self Control: Oh, I just hate this one... It makes me nuts... I don't want to talk about it, leave me alone, I'm going to my room!! Sorry about that, I'm O.K. now, I just lose control now and then. "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." (Prov. 25:28 NIV)

When I was a younger man, I used to kick the refrigerator, slam doors, and drive aggressively when upset, and once I put a hole in a wall with my fist. I thought I was doing pretty good, because I didn't yell (in fact I rarely raised my voice) and scream like my father did. Over the
years God got my attention and told me that He was the standard , not my opinions or
any other earthly person I might choose as a role model.

Self control means just what it says, control your self. This is possible through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Left to your own self, you will fall short. It is very important to maintain control over oneself, as others are watching. Many of your most difficult life trials will result in rich fruit in the lives of your children.

In second Timothy chapter 3, Paul describes to Timothy the condition in which the world will find itself at the end. One of the things he mentions is that men will be without self-control. As parents, may this never be said about us! It should be obvious to us all that we live in times just like the ones described by the Apostle Paul. Let me leave you with this thought, the things that we allow, our children will most likely take to excess. Choose carefully those things you allow yourself... "Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but
the good of others
". (1Cor.10: 23-24 NIV)

Study Questions: Session Three - Solutions and the Standard:

1. Is cutting your child off from you because they are misbehaving an effective form of discipline?

2. How would you feel about being separated from God till you corrected your behavior?

3. Should discipline be punitive?

4. When placed in time out, did this lead you to repentance or bitterness?

5. In discipline, does one shoe fit all? What makes the difference?

6. Who is setting the standard for what's right or wrong for your child?

7. Who is the most important teacher in your child's life?

8. What is the biblical standard for our children?

9. Our children are just little _______s!