In his chapter on the doctrine of adoption, Dr. R.C. Sproul writes:
The great lie of Satan is that if you really love a child, you won’t discipline him. In fact, normal discipline is often considered ‘child abuse.’ But the greatest abuse you can give a child is to let him do whatever he wants without any correction, chastening, or discipline. A truly loving and caring father will rebuke, admonish, and chasten his children. Similarly, God says that he chastens or disciplines his children because he loves them … The Father never writes us off. (Truths We Confess: A Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, vol. 2,)
This is a very important truth to swallow: not to discipline our children is the worst form of child abuse. What is too often excused as loving patience will actually be exposed as selfish indifference. When we neglect parental discipline, we actually are writing off our children. And deep down, they know it and act out on it. God’s Word says:
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (Hebrews 12:8)
There is a wonderful truth here to be embraced. We are NOT bastards, we are adopted children. God proves His faithful fatherhood over us by His chastisement and discipline. So we are told in Hebrews 12 to appreciate His “tough love” to us as a sign that He has not written us off, and as evidence that He never will.
Let us come to worship tomorrow and pray, “Our Father” with a deeper reverence for His indefatigable parenting of us. And may we reflect His parental style and show our children that we will never write them off by our never defaulting to dismissive abdication, because we love them so much.