I was checking my emails and rota of blogs I read before heading to bed and found this blog entry by Lots of Scotts. I found that I had quite a bit to say on the subject and left quite a long "comment". Upon reviewing it, I felt compelled to address the topic in my blog as well as it is something that I find to be a common dilemma amongst parents - how to reconcile the discipline and authority we have as parents with this very famous scripture which has been given, somewhere along the way, the title The Golden Rule. So indulge me as I share my reply with you on this topic. Because I believe that the development of a child's spirit should, as HGTV likes to tout in their advertising, "Start at home!"
The "golden rule" as we call it (Matt. 7:12) is part of a LONG sermon by Christ encompassing many topics, basically challenging the prevailing "party line" that had developed over many, many years by Jewish priests from the law. He was laying the foundation for the new kingdom, the church, which was soon to be established in Acts. This one particular scripture is commonly singled out and not seen in "the whole cloth" which give it more connotations that it would have singly.
I believe there is an assumption contained within the golden rule that the treatment WE wish to receive is based on a spirit of "what is best for my spiritual and mental well being" vs. "I'll do this so I'll get this". It's directing a proactive vs. reactive action. We are charged, as parents, with bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nurture - that's what we all want. It's what tomes are written about. It's what gets all the press.
But "admonition" - that's the one we don't want, don't seek and, as the Brits say, "get our knickers in a twist" when we receive. I do not believe that the Bible contradicts itself so, by taking the whole, and laying these commands within the context they are given, we can know what we are to do. We treat others with respect as we also wish to receive. And that admonition? We can lay it down carelessly or carefully which is where that golden rule comes into play.
Children are told to obey their parents. And parents, while told to discipline their children, are also warned against doing so in a manner that is counterproductive.
Eph. 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
So the many "pieces" make up a whole. None can stand alone.
Hebrews 12 starting at vs. 9 sums it up well -
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The experience a child has within the family, respecting, loving, obeying, being cared for and disciplined by the parent is SO CRUCIAL to going to that NEXT step in adulthood of being part of God's family - respecting, loving, obeying and being cared for and disciplined by the Heavenly Father. I find it so marvelous this plan that He has.
This is a subject near and dear to my heart. And one that I think it very misunderstood and wrongly applied too often.