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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - The Goal of Discipline

Andy Stanley - The Goal of Discipline

Andy Stanley - The Goal of Discipline
TOPICS: Relationships, Family, Kids, Parenting, Discipline, Honor

When our kids were young we had two rules on our home just two. Honor your mother and don't tell a lie. Honor your mother and don't tell a lie. Now, having observed a lot of families, we concluded that if our kids honored Sandra and I honored Sandra, that they would probably honor me and hopefully they would honor each other. And we discovered through the years that honoring mom is like a keystone rule. It trickles down to to just about everybody. And, it was very important to us that our sons, Andrew and Garrett learned how to honor and show respect to women.

Rule number two, don't tell a lie was super important to us. As I explained to my children we don't tell a lie because lying breaks the relationship. That was always the reason I gave for never telling a lie. We don't tell a lie because Moses told us not to tell a lie. We don't tell lies because lying breaks the relationship. And I would say to them, the worst thing that you could do the worst thing that could happen from my perspective is for our relationship to be broken. So, if our kids heard it once they heard it a 1,000 times, the worst thing you can do is tell a lie. The worst thing you can do is tell a lie. The worst thing you can do is tell a lie because lying breaks the relationship.

So, when Andrew, our oldest, was about six years old the two of us were driving somewhere. He was in the back seat and he was thinking I could always tell what Andrew was thinking because he would get really, really quiet. And then, out of nowhere, he blurts out dad, I know something worse than telling a lie. Now, he'd been in the back seat the whole time, trying to come up with something that's worse than telling a lie. I mean surely, there's something worse than telling a lie. So I said, really Andrew, what's worse than telling a lie? And he said, worshiping the devil, which is really hard to argue with. So from that point on, we had three rules in our family. Honor mom, don't tell a lie and don't worship the devil.

Anyway, this is part three of our series entitled parenting in the 21st century. So if you are a parent, about to be a parent, you hope to be a parent, maybe you're helping another parent parent or maybe you're watching your own kids parent. This series is for you. It's basically for anybody who feels the weight and the responsibility of equipping an infant, a child, a teenager, a student for life. But, as I pointed out in episode one of this series, when it comes to good examples of family and parenting unfortunately the Bible is really not all that helpful. In fact, the Bible is not even encouraging. On the other hand, when it comes to examples of real world family dysfunction the Bible's kind of your go to source.

I mean, even Jesus experienced conflict with his siblings. They thought he was crazy. They thought he was crazy until after the resurrection anyway. But, Jesus as we said last time, Jesus and the authors of the New Testament provide us with a foundation and applications for being great parents. And while Jesus never talked about parenting directly he actually laid the foundation for New Testament parenting when he laid the foundation for New Testament behavior. He laid the foundation for New Testament behavior when he issued his new covenant command. He called it, his new command. A new command I give you and here it was. To love others to love others as Jesus or as he loved us.

So, the way forward for us parents is actually embedded in that one, big, all encompassing command. I use the term embedded because the implications for parenting are not necessarily apparent. After all, Jesus wasn't talking specifically to parents when he commanded us to love as he loved. Fortunately, as we said last time, the Apostle Paul would come along and he would give us some handles. He would give us some love handles. Essentially, he would explain what it looks like to love. He would explain what it looks like to apply the Jesus brand of love in the real world. He would basically say, here's how love behaves. Here's how love behaves under pressure. Here's how love behaves at home.

Now, in my opinion Paul's most famous explanation of what the Jesus brand of love looks like and behaves like is actually found in his letter to Christians living in Corinth. And we call it the letter of first Corinthians. And last week we began our journey through Paul's application list. But if you were with us last time you'll remember we only got three words in. Love is patient. We got stuck there because well, let's face it oftentimes parenting falls apart right there with patience, right? But, Paul has a lot more to say in this chapter that pertains directly to parenting.

So, here we go. Love is patient. Up next, love is kind. Now, the term kind sounds a little soft. It might even sound weak but kindness is actually an expression of strength. In fact, unkindness unkindness is weakness. Unkindness is actually, it actually demonstrates a lack of self control. If you are unkind, you have lost control of yourself. Something else is controlling you. Unkindness demonstrates a lack of self awareness. Unkind people, they don't even know they're unkind. I've shared this definition with you before but, honestly I think it's more relevant in a discussion on parenting than anywhere else. Kindness, this is so important. Kindness is choosing to loan someone your strength rather than reminding them of their weakness. It's loaning someone your strength rather than reminding them of their weakness.

Now, parents here's the thing. Your children already know where and when they failed. They do not need to be reminded, especially by you. Mom, your words weigh a 100 pounds. And dad, our words, they weigh 500 pounds and I'm not sure why but they just do. So, loan your children your strength and let the world remind them of their weakness. Let the world remind them of their shortcomings. Like you, they wake up every single day wondering if they measure up. If they've got what it takes. Every day the world they live in makes them doubt themselves. When they fail, when they fall, when they fall short, when they don't measure up, when they mess up, find a way, this is so important. Find a way to side with them, not against them. Loan them your strength.

When I got my first traffic ticket I was 16 years old and I was driving home from school in my mom's beige four door Catalina a spectacularly unimpressive vehicle. And when I got the ticket of course, I was so afraid to tell my dad. And when I told him, he certainly wasn't happy but he did not remind me of what I already knew. Instead, and he didn't have this terminology but instead he loaned me his strength. It's why I still remember the story. He didn't bail me out. If he had bailed me out, that would have been a reminder of my weakness. Hey, give me that ticket son. I'll find out what you need to do. Implication being Andy, you can't do anything right including figure out how to handle a traffic ticket. Instead, he took the posture that I've tried to take with my kids. Essentially, his posture was this. "Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no".

In fact, this is a great habit to get into whenever your kids get into trouble. Just, "oh no, that's too bad. I'm so sorry you got a ticket". I held out the ticket and he didn't even take it out of my hand. He asked, so what's next? And of course, I didn't know. And he said well, turn it over on the back they're some instructions and then he just left it to me to figure it out. He honored me by assuming I was smart enough to figure out and responsible enough to follow through. He sided with me, not against me. And I ended up going to court and he went with me. I actually had to go before a judge, but I never doubted in the whole process that my dad was not only with me, my dad was for me. He loaned me his strength.

Now, while I'm on this, and this is a big deal, you should this is why you should never, and you're not. Some of you are gonna disagree with this, but I'll just throw it out there anyway. This is why you should never announce a punishment ahead of time to your children. This is such a big deal. Never announce a punishment ahead of time. That's actually siding against your children. Here's what that communicates. Not only do you have the potential to mess up, I am anticipating it. I'm prepared for it. Here's what's gonna happen if you break the rule. So never announce a punishment ahead of time. Don't threaten just, just expect the best and then act shocked when they mess up. Oh, no. Oh, no, I didn't see this coming. This, that's terrible.

Now you're gonna have to face the consequences. I hate that for you. Take their side and then honor them by allowing them to carry the full weight of the consequences. Again, we'll talk a little bit more about discipline later and this will make a little more sense but one more thing on this, as your kids get older and they mess up, break a rule whatever. One of the first things they wanna know is what? One of the first things they wanna know is what are you gonna do? You know, what's the punishment? Act unprepared. Say, I don't know. I am so surprised by this behavior. I just never thought you would whatever it is they did and leave them hanging.

Now, when they're young, you gotta be Swift. You gotta connect the dots but once they're older, drag it out. And again, this will make more sense in just a few minutes. The point here is simply this, side with them before you discipline them because, this is what God did for you. Think about it. If you're a Christian of a Jesus follower while you were still a sinner, while you were still a sinner, God said, what? You're a sinner? No, while you were still a sinner, Christ, sided with you. He died for you. He loaned you his strength. He did for you which you could not do for yourself.

So, quick question before we move on, what is your go-to response? What is your go-to response to weakness in your children? Think about this. What is your natural reaction? What is it you say? How do you respond? What is your go-to response when you sense weakness or failure in your children? Do you side with them or more specifically, do they feel as if you side with them or do you side and move against them? Love is patient, love is kind. Moving on, here's what Paul says next. Love does not envy, love does not boast and love is not proud. The reason I put these three together is because they communicate one very very important idea, especially when it comes to parenting. Love allows the other person to shine. Love isn't threatened by someone else's success.

Love fully celebrates but, here's something to consider. Here's what gets in the way of that with families. If you don't feel good about yourself, if you don't feel good about yourself if you don't feel good about something about yourself it is hard to let others feel good about themselves. If you don't feel good about yourself, it is very difficult to let others shine. It's very difficult to celebrate others. It's very difficult to allow others to feel good about themselves. You will find it hard to allow your children to feel good about themselves. And when I say that you think Andy, absolutely not. But I want you to think about this. If this is true of you, you will have a difficult time celebrating their successes without pointing out something they could've done better, should have done better and should consider next time. And if that is your habit if every time they succeed, every time they get an award, every time they just do anything good you find yourself going right into coaching mode instead of being able to stand back and just celebrate their success.

Mom, dad, you need to look in the mirror and I'll tell you where this, the other dynamic where this this plays out. Is in the area of sarcasm. Sarcasm. There is. There is no place for sarcasm between a parent and a child. And generally it's the parent that starts it, right? And this is true regardless of the age of your children, just eliminate it. And here's why. Your words weigh too much. They cut too deep and sarcasm. Sarcasm is at best for peers, but you and your children are not peers. And here's the thing, especially dads. You'll always win the sarcasm contest and love never tries to win. Besides, your sarcasm. It may actually be a reflection of your own insecurity. I was just kidding. And I was just playing, okay. Those phrases are a waste of breath. The damage is done. It's unkind. Moving on.

Now, the next, the next term that the Apostle Paul introduces early on became and continues to be a centerpiece in our home. You'll find this next term at the center of every mutually satisfying relationship. When a family or a community or a company or a country embraces this one dynamic concept. Honestly, it eliminates the need for countless rules, laws, and regulations. It's why we only had two standard rules in our home. And it's why honor mom was at the top of the list.

Paul states it in the negative, here's what he writes. He says, love does not dishonor others. Love does not dishonor others. Honor. In the families that Sandra and I were most impressed with, there was a culture of mutual respect. They honored one another. I love this word. They deferred to each other. And there was no tolerance, no tolerance for dishonor, no tolerance for disrespect. None. Honest, intense communication, absolutely but not disrespect. So, the way we figured it again, going back to what I said earlier, if I honored Sandra, and if I insisted the kids honored Sandra, it would set a tone for them to honor each other and ultimately me.

And here's the thing and here's why this is so important. Honor. Honor is superior to obedience. Honor is superior to obedience. If your goal raising your kids is simply obedience you are selling your kids short. You are parenting to the lowest common denominator. In an environment of honor, there is virtually again no need for rules. Where there is a lack of honor, you can't have enough rules, right? You have to cover every eventuality. And if you don't have a culture of honor in your home, you know this it's exhausting. It just becomes a game of catch me if you can. You said to be home by nine but, you didn't say 9:00 p.m, right? But it doesn't have to be that way.

So don't aim for, and don't settle for obedience. Again, obedience addresses the lowest common denominator. Obedience is really an answer to the question. What is the least I can do without getting into trouble, without suffering any consequences. Besides, you know this. Obedience. Obedience isn't at the heart of every mutually satisfying relationship. But honor always is in fact, obedience isn't even a factor in a mutually satisfying relationship, but honor, honor always is. Years ago, we had a foster child who was a teenager. She stayed with us a long time. And, when she came to live with us she was there probably a week, maybe a week and a 1/2 and I'll never forget. She came downstairs. She sat at the kitchen counter and she looked at Sandra and me and she said, literally, what are the rules here? What are the rules here?

Now, we knew her enough to know she wasn't asking us about the rules because she wanted to keep the rules. She was looking for a way to work around the rules, but you can't work around the rules until you know the rules. So she sat right down, she said, what are the rules? And I smiled. I said, well that's not how we do it here. And I literally got a three by five card and I wrote the word honor on it. And I slid it across the counter and I said, this is how we do it here. And she rolled her eyes and she went back upstairs because, like a lot of people like our kids to some extent she just, she really wanted to know how low can I go? She was looking for a loophole. She was looking for workarounds, but there are no loopholes and there are no workarounds with honor.

But here's the thing. Here's why I'm spending so much time on it. Honor or learning how to honor another person is not intuitive. It doesn't come naturally because it actually strikes at the heart of our self centeredness because it demands we put someone else ahead of ourselves. In fact, the Apostle Paul in another letter comes right out and says as much in his letter to Christians living in Rome, he writes this statement, it's so powerful. He says, Christians or Jesus followers. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another and here it is. Here's the rub, here's the tension. Honor one another above yourselves. In other words, put others first. Not because they deserve to be put first, but because as a Jesus follower, you are celebrating the fact that God put you first when he allowed his son to get up under the weight of your sin.

So model it, teach it and expect it. And early on, look for ways to build honoring behavior into the rhythm of your family life. When our kids were super young and there were toys everywhere in the house, Sandra would have the kids straighten things up before I got home in the afternoons because, she knew how much I loved order. And I didn't like to walk into chaos just kinda my personality, but here's what she didn't say. She didn't say, kids we need to clean up, your dad's coming home and we don't wanna be in, want him to be in a bad mood. What she said was this. She taught them that she said, daddy's coming home.

So let's make it nice for him. She was teaching them what to do. She was teaching them the value of honor. We're gonna honor your father by creating an environment that we know that he will enjoy. Here's the interesting thing. For many years, I didn't even know she was doing that. In fact, the way I found out is I overheard her explaining this habit that she developed to some other moms. Another way that we develop the rhythm or the habit of honor in our home is at dinner time I, along with our kids would stand.

In fact, we still do this would stand behind our chairs and we would wait. We wait until Sandra is seated. Otherwise, as soon as the food shows up, well, you've been there, right? Especially with little kids and having everyone stand behind their chair and wait was a way of putting Sandra first. It was honoring their mother. It wasn't simply being obedient to their mom. This was a, this was part of the rhythm of our family. It illustrated our honor for Sandra.

And then, when they were in middle school and high school and they would have friends over for dinner, it was kinda funny. The friends as soon as Sandra said, would say, hey, dinner's ready. The friends would come over to the table and they would just plop down in their chairs. Then they would suddenly notice they were the only ones seated. They would stand back up, stand behind their chairs, look around and have no idea what was going on. And then Sandra would sit down and everybody else would be seated and we would begin to eat. But after a while they learned, we trained our kids friends.

So, the point is simply this. Look for ways to model honor and build it into the culture of your home. And, mom and dad, you know this but I'll say it anyway. It begins with you. It begins with the way that you treat and honor each other. Again, Paul's words are so instructive for married couples. Be devoted. Look at this, be devoted to one another. And everything that flows from the word devoted actually explains what it looks like to be devoted to one another and, if you're devoted to one another Paul says, here's what it looks like. Be devoted to one another in love. How do we do it Paul? It's simple. You honor one another above yourselves. That healthy marriage is always characterized by mutual submission.

And, in the book of Ephesians the letter of Ephesians, he says this. He says, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In other words, put the other person first as I've suggested on multiple occasions. Marriage. Marriage a healthy marriage is simply a submission. Competition. It is a race to the back of the line and you know this. Any other type of competition in marriage results in a winner and a loser. And if your spouse loses you haven't really won anything. Now, we're gonna continue with Paul's love handles next time. But before we wrap up, I wanna get really practical. If you choose and I hope you will. If you choose kindness and honor as centerpieces for your home then any behavior that's dishonoring requires a response. It requires disciplining.

Now, and our family for us dishonoring behavior was anything that we referred to as one of the three Ds. These were the three Ds. Dishonesty, disrespect and disobedience. Anytime there was dishonesty, disrespect or disobedience we, we disciplined for these three things. Now, childish behavior that was different. We corrected for childish behavior because we have to teach our kids and coach our kids, but we disciplined for the three Ds. So, if you choose, kindness and honor as center pieces for your family, then any behavior any behavior that's dishonoring requires discipline. You can't ignore it. Ignoring it, rewards it. And, what's rewarded is repeated. What's rewarded is repeated.

So if you, I mean, if you wanna raise dishonest, disrespectful kids, just ignore it when you see it, that's really all it takes. Nature will take it from there. But if you don't want dishonest, disrespectful kids, you have to discipline for it. But, here's the thing for the discipline to be effective not just scary and not just something to be avoided. For discipline to be effective, the discipline must directly address the fact that a relationship has been damaged. In other words, there has to be a correlation and maybe a question will help explain this. If dishonoring behavior. Think about it this way. If dishonoring behavior breaks or undermines a relationship, that's remember lying.

You know, I don't want you to lie because lying breaks the relationship. If dishonoring behavior breaks or undermines a relationship what should the goal of your discipline be? I want you to think about this. If, if the fundamental problem with dishonesty and disrespect or disobedience is that it disrupts or undermines the relationship between you and your children or maybe between your children and someone else, if the real issue. And it is, if the real issue is a break in trust, a break in the relationship what should the goal of your discipline be? When we discipline our children what should we be trying to accomplish?

Now, again I've been doing this a long time. I spent many, many years working with middle school and high school parents and, here's what I observed. For many parents. And I understand this. For many parents, there's not really a goal, but if there's not a goal and you discipline, then it's not really discipline. It's just punishment because discipline makes a person better. This is why we all wish we were more disciplined. But punishment. Punishment rarely makes anybody better. Punishment just makes people careful so they don't get caught next time. It doesn't make us better but it certainly has the potential to make us better, right? But, and here's why, because the message of punishment is this. If you don't obey me bad things will happen to you. And when you think about most of the punishment that goes on in most homes, assuming it's going on, it's really little more than payback. You did something bad, so I'll do something bad to you. You inconvenience me or you embarrassed me.

So I'm gonna inconvenience and I'm gonna embarrass you. So again, if dishonoring behavior breaks or undermines the relationship, think about it then what should the goal of your discipline be? And the answer is the answer is restoration of the relationship. The goal of discipline is restoration of the relationship. If disobedience, disrespect, dishonesty, damage the relationship with you or anyone else the discipline should facilitate restoring the relationship.

So, here's the takeaway. Discipline your children, discipline your children in the direction of relationship restoration. And, the sooner you start the better because relationship restoration is something that must be taught. We don't, we don't come into the world understanding how to do this. And in fact, let's face it. You know some adults who've never figured this out. Perhaps, you've never figured this out. If you have ever said. If you've ever said, I don't know why you're still upset, I said, I was sorry. If you have ever said this or anything like this, perhaps you've never learned the art of restoring a relationship. I don't know why you're still upset. I said, I was sorry. You know what the implication is? The implication is, doesn't saying sorry, restore the relationship? I mean, doesn't saying sorry get us back to where we were before. No. In fact in some cases simply saying you're sorry, is insulting. It communicates, you know something must be wrong with you if you're still not okay after I said I was sorry.

Now, the fact that so many parents don't understand this explains honestly I think why so many parents are so ineffective with their discipline. They punish. It's just a standalone event. There's no goal and there's no lasting outcome and nobody is better and nobody is better off. And I think too, it's why there's such little creativity and parental discipline. Parents just take things away. Maybe this is your habit. They put their kids in time out. When they're older they just put them on restriction and ground them. None of which has anything to do with restoring a broken relationship.

Jimmy mouthed off to me, so I took his PlayStation away for a week. Really? Well, how's the relationship going? Well, he hates me. Taking stuff away should be a last resort because nobody learns anything. They just try harder not to get caught next time. Now, if you're tracking along with me, you may be thinking and I hope you're thinking, okay, Andy, I get it but how, what does it look like, what do I do? And I'm gonna give you two examples in a minute but, here's the thing. You are smart enough to figure this out. Once you recognize, and this is so important this is important in your marriage. This is important raising your kids. This is important for your kids to understand. This is important in every relationship.

At the heart of every transgression is a damaged relationship. At the heart of every transgression. I know this is kind of a big somewhat of a Bible word. At the heart of any act of dishonesty or disrespect. At the heart of every transgression something hasn't just happened. At the heart, at the epicenter of what happened is a damaged relationship. Consequently, the discipline must in some way restore the relationship. Otherwise, it's not discipline. It's just behavior modification. If it involves someone outside your family the relationship may never be completely restored because the other party may not be interested in having a relationship with you or your kids but, in even in a situation like that, you still need to coach your kids in the art.

It is an art of building a relational bridge, especially if they participated in tearing it down to begin with. Now, this really is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, as soon as your kids could talk you probably taught them to apologize. I mean, I certainly hope so. An apology is part of relationship restoration. Here's a little tip on apologies. Require your children to apologize in complete sentences. Sorry is not a complete sentence. Sorry is a sorry excuse for an apology. They've got to own it. So they need a pronoun. I'm sorry. I said this so many times our kids growing up especially when I forced them to apologize to each other. All right, tell her you're sorry. Sorry. No, nope, nope, we need a pronoun. I'm sorry. You've got to own it.

And of course you look them right in the eye I bet you've taught your kids that, but here's the thing, our kids need to understand what regardless of how old your kids are, they need to understand that when they're dishonest or disrespectful they've taken something away from the other person. And consequently, because they've taken something away they owe that person something. This is why we say, you owe them an apology. But, in most cases we owe them more than an apology.

So, here's what I want to suggest you teach your kids to say, and if you don't like my version of this, come up with your own. Here's what you teach them to say. You teach them to say, I'm sorry I, and then of course they need to explain exactly what they're sorry for. You gotta make them say it so they can own it. I'm sorry I disobeyed you. I'm sorry I kicked over your blocks. I'm sorry I came home late. I'm sorry I didn't answer when you call, whatever it is. I'm sorry, right? And then, add this. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?

Now, let me just warn you. They're gonna hate this part. They're gonna hate this, but I'm telling you this is how you help your children understand that they took something and they owe something. They took something and they owe something. What can I do to make it up to you? And when you teach them to think this way you're laying the groundwork for restoration and restitution. Sometimes it's appropriate to ask someone for forgiveness, but honestly, sometimes it's not. And we will save a discussion on that for another time.

Couple of illustrations. When our boys were around eight and 10 years old, Sandra and I came home from a date and discovered that they had been extremely disrespectful to the babysitter. I mean, it was a nightmare and this is somebody we'd known for a long time and she was hesitant to complain, but she did and we were so glad she did. And she needed to. When we got home the boys were asleep so we didn't wake them up. But the next morning, Sandra woke them up. Sent them to their little desk and had them write an apology note to Pam. Each one wrote an apology note. But, that was just the beginning.

When they finished Sandra read over the notes to make sure they were fine then she told them to get dressed up a little bit, get their little wallets and get some money out of their savings jar and meet her in the car. And they had no idea what was going on and she did not tell them until everybody was buckled up and they were driving down the driveway. And then, she laid out the game plan. She said, boys, we are going to Kroger and you're gonna go inside and you're gonna buy Pam flowers with your own money. And then we're gonna drive to Pam's office and you're gonna deliver the flowers and the notes and you're going to apologize. And they were mortified.

I'm honestly. They would have preferred that we take away everything in their rooms for an indefinite period of time and not to mention they hated wasting their money on flowers. They were humiliated. They were shamed. It was perfect. And here's the other thing. Pam didn't know they were coming. So picture this and neither did the other people in her office. So imagine it. Here they walk in and here's Sandra and these two little boys with these flowers and an envelope and they make their way to her office. And of course she was in tears and, Sandra was standing behind them. They'd rehearsed in the car exactly what they're gonna say. They're not just gonna say sorry, they're gonna say, I'm sorry and then they are going to elaborate on exactly what they were sorry for.

It was wonderful. It was terrible. It was perfect. But when all was said and done, and when all was said and paid for the relationship was restored. Sandra disciplined them in the direction of relationship restoration. Now granted, cause I know what some of you moms are thinking that was, that took a lot of time. Of course it did, it was time consuming. It required some creativity, but it was discipline. It wasn't just punishment. It was a means to an end. They were better for it. Years later years later, the boys are old enough to drive. And, one of our sons was extremely disrespectful to Sandra.

Remember rule number one, honor your mother. I wasn't there when it happened. But when I found out I was, I was furious. I was so mad, but I knew, I mean he's 16 years old, just taking stuff away. That's not gonna accomplish anything. It doesn't restore anything. And an apology wasn't enough. She was really hurt and understandably so this required something big and this required something memorable. So, after I calmed down and you know, earlier in this message I said, don't rush to creating a judgment. Don't rush to creating a discipline because sometimes you need time. And the reason we're not creative is because we rush.

So, I gave it some time. He knew he was in trouble. He knew there would be consequences. He was accustomed. My kids were accustomed at this point to me dragging this out, no immediate response to the point is sometimes they thought I forgot but, of course you never forgot. So after I calmed down, I asked the question, I want all of us to begin asking, how do I discipline? How do I discipline toward restoration? And according to Sandra, what I came up with was my finest parenting moment. I required him to ask his mother out and take his mother out on a date. He would ask her out, he would drive, he would choose the restaurant. It would be somewhere nice and he would pay for dinner.

And he looked at me and he said, are you kidding? And I said, no. And honestly, I think he was probably tempted to just hand me his keys but I would not have accepted them. So, he took Sandra to dinner and you can imagine what happened. They talked. They reconnected. I didn't have to ask him to apologize. It happened naturally. And Sandra would tell you, it is one of her most cherished memories. So, you can do this. And, you know where I got all this. It's at the center of our faith. For all have sinned and broken their relationship with God. And what did God do, punish us? No, he didn't have to because, you'll discover this eventually sin has a builtin wage. Sin has a builtin payment plan. All sins come prepackaged with a punishment, a consequence.

So instead, what did God do? He made the first move, to restore us. And then he sent us out into our broken world to restore our broken relationships. The relationships we broke on the ones that we broke through our dishonesty and our disrespect. The relationships we damaged through our impatience and our unkindness, our dishonoring responses and behavior. And, he's given us the responsibility of teaching our children how to restore their broken relationships as well. So, loan them your strength, stop with the sarcasm and discipline toward relationship restoration. That's good parenting. And, that's what your heavenly father did for you. And we will pick it up right there next time in part four of parenting in the 21st century.
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