Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Not Sparing the Rod

"When it is My desire, 
I will chasten them."
Hosea 10:10

One of my offspring had a sleepover the other night.  And by that I mean that said offspring had a friend over to our house.  They were at a Youth Group bonfire, so since they were going to be out late already, I invited the friend to spend the night. 

In addition to that, my schedule, and that of the friend's mom, necessitated that the friend spend the day with us after the sleepover.   It was an interesting day. 

Since their very first sleepovers, my children have known that it is unacceptable for them to show any evidence of the lack of sleep caused by slumber parties.  They were not going to have a ready excuse for a cranky attitude, napping, or a change in schedule.  In other words, chores or other responsibilities would not take a day off for them. 

And all their lives, they have lived by that very well.  They are cheerful and helpful despite how sleepy they might be feeling.  Whether or not they had to work very hard to keep up the facade, I don't know.  And I don't care.  {I mean that in the most tough-loving way, of course.}

Well, on this particular day, my offspring was not his/her normal self.  Though he/she was hanging out with his/her friend all day, and I had less contact with my child than usual, it was obvious that the normal good-nature of the child was not there. 

But I said nothing.  Not yet.  The time wasn't right.  First of all, the child was tired from lack of sleep.  Second, the child was still enjoying time with his/her friend.  These things would combine to mean that any serious conversation would not be effective.  I knew I needed to wait until my normally wonderful child was back to his/her normally wonderful state.  Then my child would be receptive, would take my words to heart, and seek to do his/her best to learn from the scenario. 

And yes, that's how that conversation will go.  I know my kids.  I'm not kidding when I say they are Amazing and Awesome.  {Although, to be honest, the offspring that's innocent in this particular crime would probably not appreciate that I'm implicating both of them so as to not embarrass the actual perpetrator.}

But it occurred to me that by not saying something while the "crime" was going on; in other words, by waiting until after the friend had gone home and my child was no longer exhibiting sub-par behavior, I might be condoning his/her attitude.   What was the message I was sending by saying nothing?

And then I turned it around, as I am wont to do.  {I am also wont to use words like "wont".}  And I thought about times when maybe God delays His discipline or the consequences of my actions.  How many times have I persisted in attitudes or actions that displease Him, simply because nothing was deterring me?  I've seen God delay justice for the Israelites over and over again in the Bible.  And the Bible also tells us that He is longsuffering, giving us time to repent of our sins.  But I'm sure I sometimes misinterpret His silence for apathy, or acceptance. 

He deals with me on His time, knowing when I'm the most teachable and the most impressionable.  He does discipline those He loves, but He does it with wisdom and love.  And there's no better model for a parent.

~ "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, 
as some count slackness, 
but is longsuffering towards us, 
not willing that any should perish, 
but that all should come to repentance." ~
2 Peter 3:9


  1. Yes, and could also have cited Ecclesiastes 8:11 --

    "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 6213 evil."

    The fact that it says "sons" does not exempt "daughters"... and I still have no idea which of your children you meant. Good job!

  2. Oh, I'm not familiar with that verse; thanks for adding it!