Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tough Love

This is a new generation. It is unlike no other. Sure there were those in Gomorrah, Babylon, Rome, France ,  Russia, Germany, China and Cuba who were defiled as despots changed society and remolded people, especially the youth, into the image they desired. Sometimes the methods were by force as the Mohammedans changed minds with the blade or Hitler by the use of the economy and nationalism. However, when tyrants existed in concentrated areas, elsewhere in the world mankind was about as good (sic) as man could be.

Now, things are different. Society everywhere is corrupt. For those who think it's fine right now, just wait until the next generation. Since the enlightenment there has been a sort of societal entropy where disorder abounded more with each generation. Despots know how to implement change - it is through the youth because mature minds are stubborn.
Proverbs 22:6 ( ESV) "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. "
Unfortunately, this truth applies to everyone, not just the righteous. In fact it seems that those evil use it better than do the righteous! The implication here is that the young are more malleable than those older, and as a consequence, as young people are trained, either for good or bad, the adult person becomes rigid in thought. Young people are easily swayed; old people are not. The best chance for forming minds is when people are young.
Matthew 18:3 (ESV)  “... Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus knew the innocence and eagerness of little children. Their minds are clean slates eagerly awaiting to be written on with knowledge. Knowledge, unfortunately, is both bad and good, truth and deception, and even beneficial or destructive.  Hitler knew this just like Jesus did! It is common knowledge. Change must be implemented through the young! (Hitler Youth, eg.)
Psalm 25:7 (ESV) "Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!"
Sin is learned when one is young! Everyone knows that. God knows that. Satan knows that! That's why God says to "train up a child in the way he should go". Satan's law of sin operates by "train up a child in the way the world wants him to go". In short, youth are vulnerable! Their soul is in jeopardy. They are prone to do evil because from birth evil comes two ways: 1) There is an inborn disposition to sin and 2) everyone around a child teaches the child to sin! Yes, even good parents teach kids how to sin; not on purpose, but by modeling, for there is none without sin.

On the other hand parents can "bring up the child in the way he (or she) should go". In fact that is a command by God. It's the responsibility of every Christian to teach their children righteousness, or simply the will of God. Ask yourself, parent, "Does God will that the television raise your child? Is it God's will that rock musicians mold your infant? Is it God's will that your child be entertained throughout life? Is it God's will that children be given every object of their desire? Is it God's will that children are never to be disciplined?"

If you answer these questions truthfully, it should occur to most parents that you are not even raising your children; society is! You allow teachers to teach the morals of society. You let Miley mold your child's personality. Where in the world do you think fish lips and tongue-out photos came from? They are Miley's contribution to society. That is Miley teaching your children. If she is molding their actions, she is certainly molding their behavior and values!

For those with male children, who sets the styles? Where are boys taught to wear their pants on the ground. It's through rappers. They become what they think is cool and unfortunately godliness is not cool. It is rejected by society! It's your job, parent, to mold your child in the way that child must go, or you are condemning them to an everlasting burning hell!
Proverbs 13:24 (ESV) "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."
This verse is "tough love"! The rod is not child abuse as the world has twisted truth. Without discipline the child will do what is right in his own eyes, but what lies there is temptation. Left to their own devices, children will choose pleasure every time! It's the parents job not to allow the child to have pleasure, but happiness. Sin begets pleasure, but those who do God's will are happy.

Those who love their children will be strong disciplinarians. That is a tough way to be, but that is ultimate love. All my own children, in their youth, each said at one time or the other, "I hate you Dad," or words to that effect because I had strong rules! Now each one of my three grown children have all said, "Thank you for bringing me up right, Dad!"

When my oldest son watched MTV and broke my rules, he got two warnings. The third time, I had cable removed and he had to watch over-the-air television. That caused me to forego entertainment as well, but my son was worth it! I sacrificed my own pleasure for the well-being of my son!

When my children were young, I smoked cigarettes. Being a good (sic) parent, at least I didn't smoke in their presence, but I still smoked. When I was confronted by my son who wanted to do worse, I quit smoking on the spot and never looked back! Why? Because my young son was worth it. I sacrificed my own pleasure for his benefit. It was tough to give up my television programs and habits for my son, but because I loved him so much, I made that sacrifice, and I also reaped the benefits of my sacrifice!

I spanked my children. I hated to do that! Truly, it hurt me more than it did them! I spanked my daughter (gently) when she was seventeen because she defied my rules. She was humiliated and cried like a banshee because I treated her like a child. It hurt me to see her cry. However, she never again caused me a problem, and was one of them who said, "Thank you, Dad, for bringing me up right!" That statement cured me of bad memories because spanking my daughter is a bad memory. I did it because I loved her so! It was tough, but it was love!

My failure as a father was major. Although I took them to church three times a week, I failed to teach them scripture at home. I depended on the preacher to do that. Dad taught me at home! It was his job, not the preacher's! Neither was it the teacher's job; it was Dad's and Mom's. They did good! We had daily evening bible study. I hated that and I resented that Dad would impose on me to distract from my pleasure, but Dad loved me! That was tough love because taking the time to raise your own children in a busy world is tough!

Tough love is not beating God's will or the parent's will into the child. It is teaching them to do what is right. That means that tough love is demonstrating love. If a parent wants a child to be loving, the parent must be loving. That's a tough thing to do because our nature is selfish. We must put aside our own desires and sacrifice time for our children. Dad did that; not in sports or games, but teaching and loving us! That was tough love because it took his time which he gave to us!

We must be gentle, but firm in our discipline. God is with us! We deserve death when we commit the first sin, but God is merciful until the end! We must be merciful!

With my grandson, when he broke a rule, I would firmly and toughly demand that he come to me for discipline. I would bend him over my knee and he would shake with fear and anticipation. At the last minute I would give him a reprieve with his promise that he would not do whatever it was again. That was merciful. He was grateful. The time it takes to do that is tough!

My own children would go to bed and leave their dirty glasses and plates in the living room after eating a snack. I would go to their bed all the way upstairs and walk them back down to clean up their mess, even though they had already went to sleep. It took one time! It took my time too! However, they never ever did it again. Even today all three are immaculate housekeepers (most of the time) because I brought them up in the way they should go! That is tough love!

Are they perfect? I wish! But whatever they are isn't because I didn't bring them up right. It is their own decisions. Children will never be all that you want them to be because they are not you! However, all my children, even with some habits which I don't do, are better for it. They are all self-sufficient productive adults now who made it on their own. With college I gave them one chance: They either performed - or I quit paying. That is tough love. I quit paying and they made it on their own! They each said it would have been much easier if they had listened, but they made their own course. That was tough for me to do. That is tough love!

I hope those with rebellious children get the general idea: Love is tough, it takes time, and it's not a fun thing to do. Tough love is hard work and stressful, but you owe your children love, even tough love!

Many of you have compliant children, but they are influenced by those around them. They don't cause any trouble, but they have been molded by the values of society. They are as lost as the rebellious teenager unless they trust Jesus and obey God's will. If they don't, they shall go to hell, and if you, parent, allow that, you are effectually sending your child to hell.

To teach children in the way they should go is tough love, but even compliant children need instruction or else the world will steal them away! With their malleable minds even do-good (sic) wrong-doers will damn them. Secular standards even when good (sic) are not God's standards, because God's will is not tolerance but obedience! Teaching good (sic) kids to do the entire will of God is tough, but if you love them, you will teach them God's will!

My own good daughter went through a phase when she approached adulthood. She wanted her independence and wanted to follow her own rules. She left home - moved out. I cried! It was tough, but I let her go. I covertly checked on her every day because I loved her so! She was safe.

She came home after six weeks because she needed us. She never ever defied my rules again. That was tough on her and me! That was tough love, but because I love my daughter, she was worth the pain in seeing her leave me! Whenever she did wrong I still loved her, but never bailed her out. That's tough. That is tough love, but my daughter was a great child and is now a great adult! I love her and she loves me. I respect her and she respects me. That was tough to get there, but my daughter was worth it because I love her so!

That's also the way of God! His desire is that we all have eternal life because he loves us so! God's love is tough love. To show love for him means foregoing pleasure and placing emphasis on him. He loves us as we are, but wants us to change. That's God's tough love! He cries for us. I cried for my children. That's tough love.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
God watches us sin, but still loves us. He rebukes us, but when we don't listen, he still loves us. He cries for us when we rebel against him. That is love. That is tough love. We must set the example by obeying God so that our children respect and obey us! That is tough, and that is tough love!

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