Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Heart #5: Seeing Sin and Receiving Forgiveness

Please read post 1, 2, 3, and 4 to gain a better perspective of this post. All correction in our home comes from a loving call from God to engage our children to see their hearts, know their need for a Savior, and see the incredible love and grace of Jesus Christ who is that Savior.

Today, we'll look at our "next step" beyond questions in correction when there is outright disobedience. God lead us here through a children's pastor (who our friends introduced us to through a conference cd) As he shared his wisdom and experience with a local church body, we gleaned so much biblical truth. We later read a similar process in Tedd Tripp's book, "Shepherding A Child's Heart".

*Let me stress here that I believe the MOST loving thing God has done was to lay down His life for us. Correction shows love and is an important way to show Christ's love for us, but I do not say it's the only or even the best way. Just one way to show love out of a daily life seeking to show Christ in ALL we do and say.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. " John 15:12-13*

We follow this process only when our kids have directly disobeyed us. They know if they challenge, excuse, or delay that this is the process we go through:

The Steps of Correction (our version has some differences but the basic premise is found on page 150 in my copy of SCH):
After our child does one of the three core issues we lay out as "rod worthy" offenses we:
1) Go to a private place- We don't want to embarrass him in front of anyone. This is between him and God and us (the ones he disobeyed), so we go away to another room. 

2) I say specifically what he did wrong or failed to do and he agrees- we've walked through the 5 questions so he is prepared. This just confirms what he said.

3) Talk through why we correct- God calls you to obey Mommy and Daddy (Eph. 6) and if not to be corrected. Mommy obeys God and shows love by correcting you with the rod (Proverbs 13:24, 23:13-14, 19:18, etc...). Should Mommy obey God now by giving you the rod because you disobeyed?

4) Tell exactly how many rods for the offense (ex. 2 for screaming at mommy when i asked him to come. and he gains another if he fights the rod)
Why we use both "the rod" and our process to talk through sin: 
          "The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
        Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
he will give delight to your heart.
       By mere words a servant is not disciplined,
for though he understands, he will not respond."
 -Proverbs 29:15, 17, 19
*note- Some spank with hand, some use paddles, wooden spoons, or switches from a tree in their yard, we use a gluestick (the long, rubbery kind for glue guns) as our "rod" because we like that when he reads about discipline with the rod, he won't be confused by why it isn't ever referred to as spanking. We also tend to be gentler and not battle anger with the gluestick then when we use out hands. We have no strong attachment or think anyone else should use or not use a gluestick.*

5) lay him over my lap, with underwear but no pants on (or diaper, but no pants when younger) and give (quickly) the # of rods I said. Then pull up pants.
*he is on my lap, not far away and alone. I pray this shows the swift way God deals with us, not leaving us to wonder about our sin. As I am with him even in his sin, though I'm grieved by it, I (representing God) pursue him in it in love, not anger, to be restored.*

6) Hold and hug and pray for him while he is sitting up on my lap- Sometimes he cries. Often I just tell him that I love him and it's hard to give the rod and I'm praying we'll be able to go without it someday as he sees Jesus.

7) Talk through the issue and point to the gospel- I'll often review our 5 questions with him, but this time I'll talk through as I ask and look for opportunities to share the gospel and show him that he doesn't have to stay in sin but can have full forgiveness in Christ! I encourage him here that he's not alone in sin (Mommy grapples in it too.) And that Christ can be known and He can remove his heart of stone and soften it to obey Him and love Him. So many AMAZING conversations have come from this. I should share some of this fruit in another post.

8) Pray. When little, I prayed. When a bit older, he repeated after me. Now Jimmy prays and asks God to forgive him and make him new.

9) I ask him what he could have done differently or could do next time or how he can "try again." He helps choose to ask for forgiveness and try to go again but obey this time.

10) He tries again and we rejoice! We hug. I cheer. We are fully restored and we now go back to whatever we were doing or where we were going happy. There is no anger or hurt between us. I LOVE this part because I believe it models the truth that when God forgives His own, he also puts His righteousness on us and sees us as Christ. *This step is not in Tripp's book but has been added in our home.*

What I love about this process for us has been to go after their hearts and show Jesus. Correction is not about the rod or punishment, but always to restore. In the moment, they are restored to us, but prayerfully they see their need for God and the opportunity to be restored fully and forever to Him.

Not every bad choice is disobedience. I'll share in my last post of this series how we can address bad choices our kids make...

*** Is this is all new to you and you would like to look for discipline and "the rod" in Scripture? There are so many great examples of God's loving hand of discipline, but here are a few passages God used in my heart as Andy first asked me to prayerfully consider biblical discipline and the rod: Proverbs 19:18, Hebrews 12:7-11, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, and Proverbs 19:15, 17, 19***

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