Enemy #1: Anger
I had sent Will to my bedroom (our spanking place), and I was hot on his heels when Patricia grabbed my hand and held it firmly. “You are too angry,” she said; and she was right. I walked up and down our hallway, asking Jesus to help me calm down. He did. I went in and Will got his spanking, but not from an angry dad.
Patricia knew from past experience that anger clouded my judgment. My words and my spanks were in danger of being overcharged from the adrenalin that comes with anger. She slowed me down because she knew “man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:20)
When we discipline in anger, our perspective is skewed; and consequently, our message to our children is obscured. Instead of disciplining our children in a clear Godward direction, we leave them confused, hurt, and often angry, too. Anger does more harm than good.
Enemy #2: Lack of clarity
Another enemy of consistency came up in the first question at our most recent discussion: “The discipline area is where it is hardest to be consistent, and we have difficulty keeping the standard. What kinds of things call for a spanking?”
This is a great question because an uncertain parent will produce an uncertain child. Why do we spank? Dennis and Barbara Rainey recommend the following scripture, and we think it is a good place to start. Their thinking was that we should hate what God hates.
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
We shortened the list for our own family to disrespect, disobedience, lying, and stealing. These things were always a big deal, and we spanked for them. You may make your own list, but have a list that you believe deserve a spanking. Discuss it with your spouse until you agree, and then remind one another as situations arise. Just having this list will help you become more consistent.
Enemy #3: Quick tears
Finally, don’t be taken in by tears. In Exodus 34:7, God says this about Himself: “He never lets the guilty go unpunished.” Tears come for many reasons: fear, pain, regret, repentance, even joy. Even genuine tears and forgiveness do not erase consequences. And we certainly cannot allow tears to negate our God-given responsibility.
A large percentage of what a child learns, he learns by age five. This young, cute age is the best time to impart respect and attention for God. Let’s adopt God’s ways and “never let the guilty go unpunished.”
All of us need to be aware of these three enemies to our own consistency:
Lack of clarity
As we build our consistency on God’s eternal truth, we will open a door for God to work in the hearts of our children.