It’s hard to endure correction and discipline from your parents, especially when you aren’t in agreement. Try responding graciously when you’re upset—it’s super hard, right? And if we’re honest, when things go wrong at home, the urge to get out fast is more than a little tempting. The struggle is real! If you are looking for a way to avoid correction, beleaguer your parents, or escape all together, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for a detailed guidebook on how to behave perfectly, you’ve also come to the wrong place. If those two options don’t appeal to you, if you’re looking for guidelines to help you respond to discipline, and if you’re open to being developed by God, than welcome friend!
How do we respond to discipline and correction, when we aren’t in agreement with our parents? To answer this question, let’ see if we can find any words of wisdom in Proverbs 15. Proverbs was written by the world’s wisest man, so any guidelines that he’s written have got to be worth following, right? Verse 5 says that a fool shuns his or her parents discipline, but it’s prudent to take correction. Why? Well, for one, discipline brings wisdom, and wisdom yields life—life as it was intended to be (verse 24). Wisdom also brings joy and blessing to our parents (verse 20). It’s also a really good thing to accept correction because worse discipline will track us down if we don’t stick to God’s path. It’s much better to have a little discipline now than a lot later on (verse 10). We might add that it’s far better for love to be upheld than to go down in hatred (verse 17). One more thing on discipline: the abjuration of discipline is only reserved for the mocker (verse 12). Ouch!
Discipline is not fun; however, God is ready to help us if we resort to correction. God loves it when we pursue righteousness (verse 9). When times get hard one of the best things to do is pray. Verses 8 and 29 assure us that God will hear us when we shout out to Him. Also, God will reward us right here on earth or in heaven for our efforts to cooperate with correction (verses 21 and 24).
How do we respond with gentleness when we’re upset? We can discuss stuff we disagree about using the right tactics:
Verse 1: A gentle response won’t stir up anger.
Verses 2 and 7: As crazy as it sounds, commend your parent’s knowledge when you talk with them.
Verses 3 and 4: Be open and honest. If you haven’t been hanging with the right group of friends, you’ve been staying out too late, or you haven’t been frequenting appropriate sites, don’t lie about it. Remember God will be the judge of what you’ve really been doing—both good…and bad.
Verse 15: Don’t be bogged down depression and oppression even if you’ve been treated unfairly.
Verse 18: Patience will take you a long way in your conversations.
Verses 23 and 28: Choose your words carefully; avoid ones that are charged or slanted (i.e. always, never, tone, and inflection).
Verse 26: Be pure in your thoughts, not just your words because what you think will spill over into what you say.
Verse 27: Don’t just seek what’s best for you; think of your siblings and parents.
How do we make choices when things aren’t going well at home? For one, we can remember that God has given us a discerning heart (14). We can make wisdom our aim in all our choices (verse 14). We can consort with counsel in our decisions, not merely emotions.
The next time you’re disciplined, having these simple guidelines in the back of your mind will help you take discipline, respond graciously, and make wise choices in the aftermath of a debate.