Devotion – Proverbs 13

Focus on Proverbs 13:24.

My dad used to quote this verse as he was standing over me holding his belt, about to give me a whipping.  I decided then that it was the most evil verse in the Bible.  How could God give parents such a verse?

Discipline is not fun.  But to grow up to be the person God desires, discipline is necessary.  After years of working with teenagers, I found that students in homes where their parents discipline them will envy kids whose parents don’t care.  They don’t have a curfew, they don’t get interrogated each time they come home, they never get in trouble.  What a life!

But the truth is that these parents don’t really love their teenagers.  True parental love requires discipline.  You see, parents who love their children want the very best for them.  They realize that their kids have tons of potential, and when they follow God’s will, they will turn out to be awesome.  But parents who love their kids also realize that they are sinful, rebellious creatures who will make some wrong choices and do things that are not in their best interest.  At these times, parents must teach their kids that wrong choices have consequences.  If discipline is not used, then the child develops bad habits and attitudes.

Parents can fall into two extremes.  Some parents don’t discipline their children at all.   Most of these kids grow up doing whatever they want no matter how bad they hurt others or mess up their own lives.  Other parents are so strict that there is little love mixed in.  These kids learn how to toe the line, but often fall off the deep end when they get out of their parents home.  The best balance is discipline applied with love.  A parent who expresses love to their children at all times, and sometimes shows that love with discipline.

God has given parents the role of raising their children, but they also are earthly representatives of their heavenly Father.  This means that children’s attitudes toward God will be shaped by the way their parents love and discipline them.  A big job!  This is why God gave us Proverbs.

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