Imagine yourself walking along with your child in a grassy field. As you walk across the deep growth, you hear a noise. You look a few feet in front of you and see the source of the sound – a rattle snake shaking its tail, ready to strike a venomous blow.
You stop your child, point towards the reptile and say,
That is a rattlesnake! Rattlesnakes are poisonous. They can hurt or kill you.
Then you proceed forward with your planned walk, leaving your child and yourself open to true danger.
You’re shaking your head right now because you know you would hever do that. You know that on sight of the poisonous snake, you would REMOVE both your child AND yourself from its presence just as quickly as possible. Even if your child didn’t understand what was happening and didn’t want to leave, you would drag him off, knowing you were saving him from sure disaster.
Now let me ask you – if you would do that with a snake, why won’t you do that with your child’s sin? What is keeping you from doing whatever is necessary to get them away from their sinful/deadly behaviour?
So often I see parents look at their child after they’ve disobeyed, spoken disrespectfully or been defiant and say something that sounds like the parent describing the poisonous snake –
That is not nice.
Those are ugly words!
You are not obeying!
Then they continue to walk towards “the snake.” No action is taken to stop the forward movement – the continuation of their sin!
Proverbs 29:15 reminds us how to train a child to “run away from the snake.”
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.
You can use words to teach, but it needs another element added to it to get the lesson across – it’s a rod, a paddle. Loving, firm discipline connnected with teaching them what God’s Word says about their sin is the only way to get them to understand the danger of going their own way. Words alone will not get the job done because children are foolish.
Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
This is what God tells us! He made our children and He knows their sinful hearts. Why do we think we can try to discipline another way – a way that eliminates a spanking? No one enjoys having to spank their child, but the end result is rest (v. 17).
After the rod AND reproof are given, your child will be on the lookout for snakes himself because he doesnt’ want to “get bitten” again.
To really love your child, you must care enough to not only point out their sinful behaviour, but punish them when it shows itself. Don’t leave that child on their own. God gave them a parent to teach and train them…and that blessed person is YOU. Be on the lookout for the poisonous snakes in their path!