A significant way to demonstrate our love to and for our children is correction. “A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by discipline.” (Proverbs 13.24, The Message)
Who would have ever thought that correction demonstrates love? But it does. It may not feel like love as we give it, and it probably won’t feel like love as the child receives it.
Think of discipline as having three aspects – teaching, training and correction. Looking at my own life, I know God has and continues to teach and train me in so many ways, including being a mother. Likewise, I continue to experience His correction – sometimes as I study His Word, sometimes as I pray, or sometimes through consequences of my behavior. The challenge for me as a mom has been to mirror God’s example for how to correct.
To be honest, I’ve known God’s correction for how I’ve corrected my kids! But I know God is loving me, holding me accountable, because He wants me to be the mother that He created me to be. How we correct our kids makes all the difference. God is Love so He perfectly corrects us, with and in this love. We are not perfect, but we can draw from and seek to be filled daily with His perfect love. We can seek Him daily – or if you’re like me, hourly! – to try to have a pure heart so that as we need to correct our children, we’ll do so from a healthy place – not an angry, hurting or discouraged place.
We know the ramifications of uncorrected inappropriate behavior in our own life. Let this motivate us to be continually looking at the big picture of our child’s life and how our decisions regarding correction now can impact their character into adulthood.
For various reasons we are sometimes hesitant to correct our children. We may not know what to do. We may fear losing our relationship with them. Our child may intimidate us. We may have regrets about how we corrected our first child, and consequently, we feel insecure about how to proceed with the next one. Or, our own experiences of being corrected may have been so negative that we, as the parent, have gravitated to the opposite extreme of what we experienced. Whatever our reason for hesitancy, we can take it to the Lord in prayer, release it as our burden because it paralyzes us, and ask for His strength, courage, and help. Then we can be expectant that our God will lead us to correct our children in ways that demonstrate how much we love them.
Correction is the aspect of discipline that helps mold the character trait of wisdom in our children. Our Creator is our child’s Potter, and ours. “Lord, mold me and help me follow Your leading as You mold my child.”