“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.”
The Bible speaks of real danger when we do not effectively discipline our children. One of the more tragic stories regarding this is found in the book of 1 Samuel. God speaks to Samuel and tells him of the judgment that is coming to the house of Eli the priest and his sons. Look at what the Bible tells us about Eli and his sons and their judgment.
“Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:12
Indictment number one against the sons of Eli was that they were corrupt and did not know the Lord. Remember they were the preacher’s kids. That is only the beginning.
“In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.” 1 Samuel 3:12-14
In this last passage, it becomes clear that Eli knows of the sins of his sons and the Bible says that he does nothing to restrain or discipline them. Then, you read the tragic statement made in verse 14 that Eli’s sons will die in their sins without the hope of forgiveness and separated forever from God.
We all have great hopes and dreams for our children. The advice of Proverbs 19:18 should ring in our ears. We need to discipline while there is hope and not to let our children go unrestrained as Eli did to the point of their destruction.
What does this look like practically? It means you start the process early in their lives. Win the battle of discipline while they are young. I have witnessed so many parents of preschoolers over the years allowing their children to go unrestrained. I can guarantee you that if you do not win the battle at age three you will never win it when they are age thirteen.
Make your mind up to set Godly parameters today with your children and enforce those parameters with discipline to instill in your kids respect for authority, obedience, and discernment. Failing to do so could, as Proverbs 19:18 says, “ruin their lives.”