Punishment is as important as it is misunderstood. Find the truth to discipline in this episode of BT Daily.
[Gary Petty] This is part 3 of a series we’ve been doing of BT Dailys on “Honoring Your Parents”. And of course, this is the fifth of the Ten Commandments. But you know that this commandment is actually restated and quoted in the New Testament? The apostle Paul says this in Ephesians: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and your mother’” – this is an exact quote of the commandment – “which is the first commandment with a promise, ‘that it may go well with you, that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” And so, we know that this commandment from God says that if you obey this, you’ll be happier. But then Paul adds something else. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children. Instead, bring them up in the training and instructions of the Lord.” The King James says, “Do not make them angry” (Ephesians 6:1-4 Ephesians 6:1-4  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
 Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
 That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.
 And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
American King James Version×).
Here’s a problem we have as parents – so we fight with this desire to be honored, and sometimes find ourselves in this competition with our children and this conflict with our children – we want honor, and they refuse to give it. We have to be careful as fathers not to make our children angry, not to exasperate them as it says here in the NIV. Now that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t punish them, and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t say they’re wrong. And there’s times where there’s going to be a test of will that you have to win. You can’t let your two-year-old run out into the street. But we have to realize that we can be very negative of our children. We can constantly be telling them what’s wrong, and never telling them what’s right. We can produce children who hate sin, but never love goodness. They never love virtue. They never find the joy there is in doing good. They just hate wrong. And they hate themselves when they do wrong. It’s so important that we help them understand and look for those opportunities to be supportive, to encourage them. And there are times when, instead of punishment, we need to sit down and just help them through the consequences of their sins, what they’ve gone through.
Many years ago, I took a group of teenagers to Custer State Park in South Dakota. And we were camping in a very remote area. And I had left the camp for a while, and I came back and some of the adult leaders came to me very upset and wanted me to punish this group of teenage boys, and I needed to punish them very severely. So I asked them what happened. It seems that they found a rock that was very heavy and just the size that would fit through the hole in the outhouse. And the three of them, wanting to know what would happen, walked over and dropped the rock down the hole, and then leaned over to see what would happen. Well, I guess the door flew open, and the three of them come running out screaming and run down and threw themselves into the lake to clean themselves off. And the adults wanted me to punish them. I said I would take care of it, and I took the boys aside and I told them to look very serious like I was really punishing them and chewing them out. And I said, “I just want to know what led you to do that.” They explained it seemed like a good idea. It gave me a chance to sit down and talk to them about consequences – that everything we do has a reaction, it has consequences for good or evil. They needed to understand that they need to look at all aspects of life this way, not just the physics of dropping a rock down a hole, but the idea of morality.
As dads, look for those opportunities. Look for those opportunities to talk to them, to teach them, to encourage them. Sometimes to help them when they are suffering the consequences of a bad decision. By honoring them and teaching them this and fulfilling this scripture, they will learn to honor you. That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.