Family Matters

Devotional

The Undisciplined Child 

“To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child."—Proverbs 29:15 (NLT) 

By Daniel Saavedra

“This hurts me more than it hurts you.” You’ve probably heard this before. And for all the parents, you’ve said or felt it. Personally, every single time I have to discipline my children, I feel this way. Truthfully, I hate disciplining them. I hate time outs, taking their favorite toy away, and spankings. It pains me and crushes my heart each time I have to discipline. Why? Because I love my children! I love seeing them have fun, be happy, experience joy. But when I discipline them that all stops for a brief while. It’s replaced by tears and frowns. 

But I discipline my children because it’s how God, our good and perfect Father, deals with us as He allows us to experience consequences and reap what we sow for the purpose of refining and developing us. It’s why He impressed this idea on Solomon’s heart. (See today’s verse.) You see, one of the most valuable and practical lessons a parent can teach their children is that actions have reactions and that choices have consequences. 

Confession: I was never disciplined as a child or teenager. I got whatever I wanted and did whatever I wanted with no hesitation of recourse or punishment. Needless to say, it has led to some very hard lessons as an adult. I made some very real mistakes that I’m paying for to this day—literally paying, in some cases. 

From experience I can tell you that an undisciplined child—who becomes an undisciplined adult—is guided by their impulses and desires much more intensely than a disciplined one. We tend to be more selfish, entitled, and self-centered than the average person because we always got what we wanted, and somewhere along the way began to think we deserve everything we want. We thrive on instant gratification and make rash decisions without much thought to the aftereffects. So much so that when the consequences eventually do come, it hits like a bomb that we are unprepared to deal with. Today, I have finally started to learn to be disciplined and want to pass these lessons on to my kids.

Discipline teaches the weight of actions, it promotes responsible living, and it helps breed humility and an others-centered mentality. And though it may hurt a little in the moment, if done in love and not anger—and if that love is reinforced both before and afterwards—“it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV).

DIG: Read Hebrews 12.

DISCOVER: Why is discipline such a valuable and practical aspect of our lives? What does it look like when we are undisciplined? Why is it unbiblical to avoid discipline?

DISPLAY: Have a conversation this week with a trusted friend/spiritual mentor regarding the role of discipline. Share your thoughts and experiences with it.