Reading the Word
“Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.” (Proverbs 19:18, ESV)
Understanding and Applying the Word
The first half of this psalm tells us to “discipline” our sons (i.e. children). When we hear the word discipline, we may automatically think of punishment, but that is too narrow of an understanding. The Hebrew word carries the meaning of training, directing, correcting, teaching, etc. We are told to do this “for there is hope.” We train our children because there is hope that they will learn and grow to maturity, even if it may not always feel like it!
The second half of the psalm is a warning to parents. We may be tempted to neglect our duty to train our children. This may be because we do not want to spend the time or effort necessary. It could also be that correcting an erring child is no fun and we would rather avoid the confrontation or the hurt feelings or the necessary punishments. However, this is not wise. Such an approach is actually harmful for the development of children.Ultimately, it can lead to their demise.
Children need instruction and training and it starts with parents. We must not neglect our responsibilities in this area because the future welfares of our sons and daughters are at stake.
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