The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DISCIPLINE: Why? Relationship!

Why do we discipline?
“They break the rules.”
“They need to be trained.”
“To keep order in the home.”
“To teach obedience.”
All of these answers are true, but there is a deeper reason.

     Jean-Luc and Dan, our two youngest, are about as different as two young men could be. Jean-Luc is driven, goal-oriented, and directive. Dan is laid back, compliant, fun-loving. When they were younger, Jean-Luc gave orders and Danny followed; but as they have matured and walked through teen years together, Dan developed more of his own mind. He became resentful of Jean-Luc’s “bossing,” and hostility began to show up between the two. Words were sharp and patience with one another was gone. The rules kept being broken because the relationship was broken. We shut everything down on more than one occasion and worked on the relationship. As parents we helped them get to the root of the problem. Getting them to talk it out, to bring out the issues, to ask forgiveness, and to restore the relationship. Then they tried again. Little by little their relationship improved and today is much better.
     When Patricia’s aunt stayed with us for a week after Patrick’s wedding, she commented, “Your kids get along so well.” It is true. It has been by our design, because we believe that it is God’s design. In faith we tried to implement what Jesus taught: What is in the heart comes out in relationships.

Heb. 12:11  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
The word righteousness can be simplified to mean “right relationships.” The goal of discipline is to bring about a harvest of right relationships. Nothing is more important. If we make righteousness only a Godward, religious term, we miss its application in everyday life. Absolutely, our relationship with God comes first, and it is closely followed by our relationships with one another. As a matter of fact, the scripture clearly teaches that our relationship with God is on display in our relationship with others. Discipline at its best will produce God-reflecting relationships.

James 2: 8  If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
At the core of any law or rule should be this concept: rules help us live together better. They guard and nourish relationships. The reality is that when rules are broken, some relationship is broken. The discipline should point to the relationship and mend it. Rules serve relationships.

Matthew 22: 37-39  Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
     When Jesus was asked about the greatest rule or commandment, he taught that the purpose of the commandments were the love relationship: love of God, love of others.
     Once this becomes clear to us, we can see it everywhere in the scriptures. The Pharisees were obsessed with getting things right. So they created rules and more rules. Jesus stepped into their world and taught and demonstrated not a petty rightness but a glorious righteousness (right relationship), and the Pharisees were confused and angry. They just did not understand that we can be right but not righteous. Jesus said that our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees.
     When we insist on being right, we often offend. Years ago, a friend angrily told me, “You always think you are right.” It was not a compliment. Broken relationships have taught me to see others differently and to value them as eternal. God is always right; I am not. He says to love others, love your neighbors, love your brothers, love your enemies. After I have mastered these things, I might work on being right.

Let’s kick our “Pharisee rightness” out and let the Jesus-righteousness  in.
If we discipline with that in mind, our kids will get it.