Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
What an important message for parents. When our children misbehave we are tempted to look away, ignore it, if in public to act like we don’t even know who these kids belong to. Sometimes it seems impossible to muster the strength to deal with it one more time. And sometimes our attitude (anger?) is such that we shouldn’t try to deal with it right now.
But this passage makes a promise for worn out parents who do rise to the occasion and rebuke, discipline, even chastise if necessary “one more time”. If we dig deep and find the energy (and self control) to make the effort, endure the grief and embarrassment it causes us, we “will in the end gain favor”.
That does not promise we will see any “favor” today or tomorrow. It may be years or decades but at some point in time, “in the end”, our children will come to appreciate the effort we put into caring more about them than about ourselves; the effort we put into training them and not just raising them. (You can “raise” pigs but children are to be trained.)
I can tell you from experience there’s no greater joy than seeing your children passionately serving the Savior – even going beyond where you were able to take them in the things of the Spirit. And I can’t imagine any deeper grief than to watch your children reject the faith.
A child’s natural “bent” is not toward God. We are all, by nature, pulled toward sin. But your loving rebukes, attentive discipline and encouraging words (versus a “flattering tongue”) can bend them toward the Lord. Like a young tree pulled upright and guided to growth in the proper direction, you can direct your children toward the heavenly and away from the earthly.
But like the young sapling continually pulls at the retraining twine designed to point it in the proper direction, your children will naturally “kick against the goad”. Aren’t you glad to know that your loving (but seemingly never ending) rebuking will not destroy them but will, in the end, produce favor for you – and for them as they learn to become productive members of society and the kingdom of God.
NOTE: Nagging is not rebuking. Rebuking carries consequences if disobeyed. Nagging, being a dripping faucet, is when we continually threaten, cajole and criticize but never, or reluctantly and sporadically, follow through with consequences. Children learn quickly to tune out that sort of noise. State what needs to happen and then take action if it does not. It is the action that motivates, not your irritating whining at them.
More Parenting Passages worth Pondering:
A wise son brings joy … a foolish son grief …
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool.
Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!
Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.
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