As we balance discipline with affirmation, we give our children worthy expectations to live up to. Expect the best, provide loving discipline and support in the worst.
We are confident of better things in your case (Hebrews 6:9).
Paul, the Master ‘Parent’
This session is mostly Scripture, as an example of the Apostle Paul’s “parenting” method. Meditate on the verses below, taken from Paul’s’ Epistles. Observe as this master “parent” shows us how to deal with our children. Get your Bible and read the context or entire book of some of these epistles. Skim through some of Paul’s other epistles in addition to those quoted below. Most of the epistles are very short, and almost all of them employ the principles we’ve been discussing here.
From Paul’s Letter to the Church at Thessalonica
But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
–1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
From Paul’s Letter to the Church at Philippi
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus….
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.
Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.
–Philippians 1:3-6,27; 4:1-2
From Paul’s First Letter to the Church at Corinth
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.
–1 Corinthians 1:4-11; 5:1; 11:1-2,17-18
From Paul’s Second Letter to the Church at Corinth
So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent–not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.
Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.
This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority–the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
–2 Corinthians 2:1-8; 3:2; 8:4; 13:10
From the Letter to the Hebrews
The author of Hebrrews is uncertain, but many Bible Scholars believe it was written by the Apostle Paul.
Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.
We must learn to balance discipline with affirmation. Even when our children rebel, we must never give them even a hint that we anticipate they might continue to live beneath God’s standards.
Thought to Remember
Our children want to live up to our expectations. Let us give them worthy expectations to live up to!
Question for Discussion
Can you give me a model parent, someone I can live with and follow over an extended period of time?
Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted