This week in Proverbs is about discipline. Discipline is necessary because our hearts are wicked and inclined in the wrong direction. Through discipline comes wisdom and from wisdom comes righteousness and peace. In all this we must remember that Christ is our wisdom and righteousness and the Bringer of Peace.
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
This is one of the Proverbs that speaks of the rod upon which some Christians fixate and miss the whole of the proverb.
First, consider the child. The child is needy because he or she is sinful, and as the hymn says, “prone to wander.” Left to self, the child will go in the direction of destruction of self and others.
Second, the mother (and father) has a responsibility which, if neglected or done poorly, will result in her shame and the destruction of the child.
Third, the honor of the family is maintained by the application of the rod and reproof to the child. But there is something here greater than the immediate family name; it is God’s name, his family honor. In the introductory sentences for the week I spoke of the necessity of discipline for the purpose of redirecting our misdirected inclinations. The redirection is the establishing of a path to Christ and his wisdom and righteousness and peace.
Parenting is serious business not just because we do not want our child to be a public nuisance and family annoyance, but because we want them to live a God-honoring and neighbor-loving life. That requires instruction (reproof) from our lips and from our lives. Sometimes it requires restraint in the form of putting up a fence to bad behavior.
Reflection for Today
Does your discipline guide to Christ, his forgiveness, and his love?