The Biblical Aspect of Discipline

Matilda now at 2 years and 4 months old, has become very much curious in everything. A normal toddler just like her, has the ability to make her parents joyful and disappointed all at the same time. Well, that’s really how raising a child goes, don’t you agree?

Ever since Matilda was still in my tummy, we have always contemplated on how we will be able to raise her as a Godly child. I, myself, for example, wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but Joey on the other hand was. He grew up a fine man, with respect toward authorities, and has been very obedient to rules, whether set by his parents, in school, and now, as a professional. I praise God for how he was brought up to be the man he has become.

I know A LOT of people will take this post negatively. You might think that what I am about to tell you is some form of child abuse. You might even misjudge me for being impatient and worse, a bad parent. But don’t you worry, I have been judged way too many times with how I am raising my child, and honestly, it is just us, her parents, who reap all the benefits that Biblical Discipline has given her. And soon, as she grows up to be the woman she is bound to become, I know she will be grateful for it, just like her Papa is, to his parents.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)

As Christians, we are commanded in the Bible to train and discipline our children. This means, we as parents, are fully responsible in how we will be raising God-fearing, obedient and respectful kids. Ever wondered why your kid suddenly became so disobedient? That even though no one taught them to say no, or do the opposite of what was asked of them, they still grow up doing EXACTLY that? Why do you think children are so entitled thinking they should always have it their way, or else they will give you such a hard time pacifying them? Well, this verse clearly states the reason why.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15 NASB)

What is this “foolishness” the Bible is talking about? Because of The Fall of Man, we have all become sinners in the eyes of our God. We have all been sinful even while we were inside the womb of our mothers. This means, we are to commit these sins even as children. And the most common of these are Disobedience and Disrespect.

Now that Biblically, I am painting this picture for you to understand why discipline is necessary, knowing the basis and background as to why children are really born to be like that, let us now go back to how we enforce this to our Matilda.

On the second part of the verse above, it says, The rod of discipline will remove it (foolishness) far from him. What is this “rod” we are talking about here? The rod is an object we use for spanking. It may actually be anything, but for us, we use the belt.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24 NIV)

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. (Hebrews 12:11 NIV)

We discipline by spanking because we believe that it is what God wants us to do. The Bible’s credibility cannot be questioned because of its infallibility and inerrancy. Did you know that from Genesis to Revelation, there is not even one contradicting statement in the Scripture? It’s one of the many reasons, apart from History, great amount of evidences, fulfilled prophecies and promises, and so on, why we believe it’s true. That it is in fact, the Word of God. And because of our faith in Him, we should obey His Word.

Since we realized the gravity that disciplining a child entails, we then started seeking God’s word. We wanted to learn even more from Him, on how we can raise a Godly child in order that we may bring all the Glory back to Him as we raise her. We also got the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart (where most of the principles written here are derived from), which explains our role as parents, and how we can be intentional in molding the heart of our child. It all begins from the heart, the behavior of your child is an overflow of the heart.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (Luke 6:45 NLT)

Discipline is not an easy task. It takes a great amount of patience to be able to get it right. You see, we should never spank in anger. Children will know when you are angry, they will remember this, and it will give a negative effect in the implementation of discipline. In fact, being angry in itself is already sinful. Being angry, usually when we don’t have it our way is considered unholy anger, but to be angry at the sin in itself, knowing that this specific sin is never tolerated by God, and it makes you upset, that is holy anger. Always make sure your heart is on the right place. So, when do we spank? And how do we begin to do it?

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1:19-20)

First of all, for a child to know the concept of obedience, we must instill this to them at a very young age. If I remember correctly, I started talking to Matilda about obedience when she was around 6-7 months old. Around this time, they already show their very distinct behavior. When you observe them play, interact with others, eat, or even during idle time, you will notice their character slowly forming. With Matilda, I began by getting her familiar with the word “obey”. I would always remind her this whenever I attend to her. For example, during diaper changes. Babies can be very irritable especially when you put them down for this. So what I do is, I look her in the eyes and say, “Matilda, you have to stay still and behave, I am going to change your diaper. You have to OBEY Mommy.” I tell her this, every opportunity I get, with a firm voice. It may be during play time as well. Like when she started dropping her toys from the crib to the floor, I would remind her, “Matilda, the floor is dirty, if you want to play with your toys some more, you have to keep them in your crib. You have to OBEY Mommy.” These are just some instances, so you would have an idea. And this advice was something I learned from Deonna Tan-Chi when we attended a Parenting Seminar at CCF, called Counterflow.

You have to understand something, babies are very smart. They can already comprehend even when they can’t talk yet. So, never underestimate their capability to understand and never get tired of explaining to them these things. As for Matilda, we knew she could very well understand us at around 9-10 months. It was the time we started contemplating that it may be good to start spanking. Just so you know, we spank only on two occasions, and that is when she disobeys or disrespects us. The moment she defies our authority, we administer spanking. So here’s how.

Knowing FULL well that Matilda understood that she had to obey and instead she still defied us, we would get her and bring her to a private place (for us it’s our other room where we store our things). I put her on my lap and talk to her. I would remind her of what she did, explain to her why it was wrong and reinforce that she had to obey. I would then tell her that I would need to spank her because it is what God wants me to do in order to discipline her. I’d go on and tell her how many swats she’ll get, (we do just one) and then I proceed by telling her I love her, and that I am doing this for her own good, so that next time, she would learn to OBEY. Next is to put down her pants, and lay her face down on my lap, her bottom exposed. I would get the belt and give one swat. One is enough for us because I do it effectively. It should be hard and painful but not to the point the skin breaks. (With us, her skin usually turns red for a while). And then I immediately put on her pants and hug her tight. I console her from the pain, and then reassure her of my love. When she is already calm and collected, we say a prayer together.

For the first few times we did this, it was very, very difficult. I cried with Matilda at the sight of seeing her in pain. I also had a hard time accepting my responsibility to enforce discipline and have not been consistent at it. Those inconsistencies brought confusion in Matilda and I realized I am making it even more difficult for her, because she couldn’t get the message clearly. Although, remembering all the promises in the Bible gave me peace knowing that what I am doing is God’s will, and His will is always good. Also, knowing the fact that I am just His agent, whom He expects to do his duty, I, myself, am bound to obey. So, I then made it a point to consciously be on the lookout for circumstances wherein discipline should be enforced, and did it consistently this time around.

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.(Ephesians 6:1-3)

I praise God that we are now even more blessed to have Matilda understand the gravity of obedience and respect. She is growing up to be a good little girl who listens and obeys without question, challenge or delay. Sure, there are still moments wherein she fails, and acts differently, but those times are now becoming very rare. As of this moment, I can no longer remember the last time I spanked her. This is the exact validation how we know, we are on the right track. As I have said in the beginning of this post, we do this because we believe that this is our duty as parents. God entrusted us with a child who will someday become of influence to this world. It is a big responsibility to be able to bring her up in the fear of the Lord, so that someday, she will be useful for the glory of His kingdom. Discipline is not easy and without God’s grace, we wouldn’t be able to do it effectively. It is our prayer as parents, that Matilda will remember the principles we are instilling in her young mind, and then hopefully apply it, as she grows.

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. (Proverbs 29:17 ESV)

How is the heart of your child? Have you been diligent in disciplining them? If so, are you happy with the result? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

IMG_9255

Advertisements

Before and After “I Do”

Last April 18, Joey and I attended a workshop by the Family Ministry in CCF Center, designed for soon-to-wed couples, as well as newly married couples. Joey and I attended as facilitators and as participants at the same time as it was our first to actually join the said event. It started at around 9am and the set up of the place was like that of a wedding reception. The Multipurpose Hall was designed beautifully with matching flowers and candles on the round tables, including a buffet set up for lunch. There were a total of 4 sessions, each with different couples as speakers, and let me share with you some of the things we have learned from them.

Session 1: I’m Made for This

Ephesians 5:31-32 New International Version (NIV)

31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

In this session, the speakers were Edric and Joy Mendoza. They basically shared with us God’s design for a successful marriage, which is summarized in the Leave and Cleave Principle. In the verse stated above, we understood that it is truly God’s design that we unite as ONE. Leaving our past behind and starting a new life together as husband and wife. This also involves embracing our roles that God has set for us in our married life. The idea is that ,men should be as how Christ was to the church, which is represented by the wife. It sounds quite profound I know, but as you come to think of it, it is really simple. Christ loved us so much, (church, meaning the body of believers) that He gave Himself up to save us. This is what is expected of us, as Christ already lived as the perfect example for mankind to follow.

Edric and Joy also emphasized on the importance of commitment and communication and how this affects our relationship with our spouse. That in all things man and wife, it should stay between the two of you. We should always remember to back-up and protect each other as we are one in God, never letting other people get in the way of our privacy as a family. Yes, it is good to seek advice, especially  to our parents, but we should take note that being married means we are now responsible with our own decision-making. Anything personal between couples must remain between them, and God, to protect the sanctity of marriage. This is also best remembered as we look at an equilateral triangle, also known as the marriage triangle.

marriage-takes-three.9031440

 

Photo source: http://www.halleethehomemaker.com/2012/02/top-5-ways-to-have-a-healthy-successful-marriage/

 

Session 2: I Will “Role” with It

In this session, the clear-cut roles of husbands and wives were given more emphasis by Pastor Manny and his wife, Lisa Manansala. They specifically pointed out that the key to meeting the expectations of your spouse is by understanding your Godly roles, first and foremost.

Roles of the Husband:

  1. Leader of the Family

Ephesians 5:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior.

  1. Lover of the Wife

Ephesians 5:25 New International Version (NIV)

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

  1. Provider for the needs of the family.

1 Timothy 5:8 New International Version (NIV)

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Roles of the Wife:

  1. Be your husband’s Helpmate

Genesis 2:18 New International Version (NIV)

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

  1. Be Submissive and Respectful to your husband.

Ephesians 5:24 New International Version (NIV)

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

  1. Be a responsible Home-Manager

Titus 2:3-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Session 3: I Get It

This session focused more on the part of effective communication, as discussed by Nono and Txuna Felipe. Like any other couple, they shared how they struggled in the early parts of their marriage, in this particular area. Both of them agree that they lacked focus when one was talking, especially when the other person was preoccupied in doing something. This eventually led to a series of misunderstandings and preconceived  assumptions, which added pressure in the everyday trials of marriage.

Proverbs 15:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!

Nono and Txuna shared 5 Principles that helped them in the area of communication:

  1. The Principle of First Response – the importance of responding vs. reacting.
  2. The Principle of Physical Touch – the importance of showing gentleness and love through actions.
  3. The Principle of Proper Timing – the importance of knowing when and where to say something.
  4. The Principle of Mirroring – the importance of how things should be said and heard as seen in Proverbs 22:17 “Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
    apply your heart to what I teach,”
  5. The Principle of Prayer – the importance of putting God at the center of the marriage.

Following these simple principles will help in improving the quality of our communication skills, not only to our spouse, but to other people as well.

Session 4: I Will Live Free

Colossians 3:12-13 New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

John and Monique Ong are no strangers to us as they have already given their testimony a couple of times in different occasions. Although, hearing it over and over again is such a beautiful reminder of how God is able to turn a mess into a masterpiece, as Monique would relate it to. For you to experience the blessing of their testimony, and learn how to actually be able to forgive as God forgives, you can view it here.

In this session, they also focused on the gift of sex, in the context of marriage as well as how to keep yourself pure until the day of your wedding.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 New International Version (NIV)  

12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Points to remember:

  1. Always keep your guard up.
  2. Your temptations are not unique to you.
  3. God will not give you more than you can bear.
  4. God always provides a way of escape.

Overall, the things we have learned from this whole day workshop cannot be summarized in just one blog post! It was such a well executed event and it was a blessing to be part of it. It was also a different kind of experience to be surrounded by other couples and discuss the same issues we all go through in marriage. Sharing struggles and the tips that helped us overcome is a wonderful way to learn as well. I hope to attend more seminars like this and hoping you can join us too, next time.

IMG_9385 IMG_9386 IMG_9402 IMG_9403 IMG_9406 IMG_9409 IMG_9411 IMG_9412 IMG_9415

Wherever You Go, I Will Go

Long distance relationships take an extra amount of commitment for it to actually work. Having the chance to experience this while Joey and I were still dating, that time might have been the lowest point of our relationship.

As soon as we got married, we made a commitment to be together daily, as much as we can. Of course, this wasn’t 100% possible with Joey’s line if work being in the Sales Industry. He needed to travel a lot to different parts of the Philippines, and that’s just really part of the job.

During those early parts of our marriage, being based in Davao, where we had no immediate family present to look out for us, it made the situation a bit more challenging. I was left in our house for most days as he traveled, whenever he had to go by plane. I could only go with him when the travel was around Mindanao since we can go by land. Yes, it was difficult. We may have friends around, but I felt sad with the set-up that we had. We had just been married and I knew in my heart that if we go on with this any longer, it may take its toll on our marriage.

Even in the Bible, husbands are asked to stay with the wife because it is crucial in the early parts of the marriage to make the relationship work. “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” (Deuteronomy 24:5 NIV)

To give Joey credit though, I must say, he never gave me any reason to doubt him. He had always been very open and honest about where he was and who he’s with. I knew most, if not all of the people he works with and that gives me the assurance he wouldn’t do anything to destroy our marriage. Although, it is true that this set-up is really prone to temptations, I just always prayed that God will guard his heart and keep him focused on Him and the work he is asked to do.

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. (Malachi 2:15 NIV)

Fast forward to when I got pregnant, which was 8 months after being married, Joey and I both wanted to raise our little Matilda together and we knew we couldn’t do that successfully if he would need to travel a lot. So, we prayed about it and God answered our prayer through an opportunity to go back to Manila when Matilda was just a few months old.

A position to handle the area of Quezon was the closest we can get to being in Manila so he accepted the offer. The only major catch was, he had to be based in Lucena City, a 4-hour drive from Manila. We thought, it was just travel by land anyway so we can surely go with him all the time. We then had to make a big decision whether we’ll get a home in Manila or in Lucena. Thinking about moving all over again when the time comes Joey may be reassigned some place else made our hearts set on just getting a home in Manila (where all of our things from Davao will be shipped to), and a small fully furnished place in Lucena, for the mean time.

We finally left Davao when Matilda was 3 months old and was given a month stay at a hotel for free just until we can relocate. God is really great because even though our time was short in house-hunting, he remained faithful and gave us a beautiful home within our budget. Plus, just like the 2 previous places we stayed at in Davao, we are also the first to occupy the said home! Praise God indeed!

Looking back, it was fun for most parts traveling weekly, to and from Lucena. We usually left Tuesdays and we go back to Manila by Friday. Some days, it was also very exhausting. I had to pack, unpack, do the grocery twice as much, maintain two homes and so on. It was both time and energy-consuming. And financially, it was also a struggle. But even though we had all these things to think about, we would always go back to the reason why we chose this to begin with. As soon as we realize the pros from all the cons, we will be at peace knowing we are honoring God by doing the right thing, which is by being together as man and wife.

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6 NIV)

A lot of people wondered when they heard about what we were doing. Some even thought negatively about why we were wasting our energy going with him all the time. Some might have even misjudged me for not trusting Joey enough to allow him to go on his own. What they didn’t know was this was about something much deeper. It was mainly because we wanted to be accountable for each other. I wanted to be Joey’s wife not only on weekends, but as often as I could, and that’s what he wanted as well, as my husband. Traveling was just a minute sacrifice on my end, being a housewife. Missing each other is way more difficult most especially whenever he won’t see Matilda for a while. It is heartbreaking to see him so sad.

After all that, I am very happy to let you know that Joey has finally left his previous company, and is now based in Manila for his new job. Right now, we are enjoying traveling with him to different areas in Luzon. Also, we no longer need to maintain 2 houses and our travel isn’t on a weekly basis anymore. We are glad that just like his former company, this new company is also family oriented. We are indeed truly blessed!

To close, I want to encourage you just as how I was encouraged by Rebekah. Her faith in God made her trust the plans He had for her. Though she didn’t know who she was about to marry, she readily obeyed, left everything she had, and followed her soon to be father-in-law, Abraham, to meet her future husband, who is Isaac. Rebekah’s willingness to please the Lord was indeed commendable and I admire her for what she did. And because she obeyed the Lord, she was blessed through her husband and sons. So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies.” (Genesis 24:58-60 NIV)

Are you willing to be the modern-day Rebekah? Will you readily and willingly obey God just as she did? It may be difficult, but with God’s promise of  blessing whenever we obey Him, it will surely be worth all of it!

IMG_7482