Discipline – For Kids Only
June 18, 2000
Young people, listen up. I’ve got some insider information for you this morning. It has to do with discipline. It also has to do with keeping your best interests in mind.
Proverbs 15:32, “He who ignores discipline despises himself.” Did you pick that one up? Did you process that? It says right here that when we diss our parents, when we rebel against mom or dad, we’re hurting ourselves. We’re whacking our self-worth. We’re injuring who we are. The next part of Verse 32 says, “But whoever heeds correction”—the word “heeds” here means “pays close attention to”—“Whoever [pays close attention to] correction gains understanding.”
The goal of this message, “Discipline – for Kids Only,” is the goal of understanding. I want you to understand this whole concept of discipline. The next question that comes our way, then, is the “how” question. How do I process, how do I gain understanding against the backdrop of Proverbs 15:32?
I’ll tell you how. Don’t miss this because if we’re going to gain understanding on discipline, young people, we must join a chain gang. We must join a chain gang. I’m referring to God’s flow chart, God’s chain of command, God’s authority base. Authority is everywhere. It’s popular these days to buck authority, to turn our backs on authority; yet God has a chain of command. God is the critical link, the cog, in this chain of command. He is hooked in to dad, dad to mom, mom to sons and daughters, and so on.
Let’s say, for example—let’s just use a hypothetical situation—that the son rebels now and then. Let’s say he’s kind of turned his back on what his mom says. What has happened? He’s broken the chain of command. He’s messed up with his mom, his dad, but look—ultimately, he’s messed up with God. When you rebel, yes, you’re rebelling against your parents. But ultimately, you’re rebelling against God. That’s a heavy rebellion. That’s a tough thing when you choose, young people, to turn your back and to go your own way.
The chain of command occurs on the family front. The chain of command occurs on the school front. The head coach? God has put him there for a reason. When his players and others turn their backs on him and talk behind his back, they’re breaking God’s chain of command. They’re abusing his authority, and ultimately, they’re messing around with God. We must see this, whether it be in a church, with government, in the business world. If you want your life to flow and go, get beneath God’s chain of command. Especially in this context, young people, do it. You’ll be blessed richly by God. Join a chain gang. That’s part of gaining understanding.
There’s something else we need to do. I’ll set it up this way: diamonds are a girl’s best friend. There’s nothing like a diamond. Have you ever stopped and realized that diamonds, when they’re first mined, are ugly? I’m talking about U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi, ugly. They’re called “diamonds in the rough.” They’re these dirt-clod looking things. What if women just wore those diamonds in the rough, those dirt clods, hanging from their ears, nose? “Oh, look at my engagement ring!” with dirt flying everywhere. We would think “What’s up with them?” People who mine diamonds take diamonds in the rough, chisel the diamonds, and ultimately make a beautiful stone.
That’s why thinking young people not only join a chain gang, but also understand the D.I.R. principle: the Diamond In the Rough principle. You’re a diamond in the rough, and God has placed a single parent, a step-parent, parents, above you to chisel and chip away as they mold, shape, and sometimes scold you. Their objective, even though some might not realize it, is to mold and shape you into a beautiful diamond. God has placed them there. So, young people, when you are being disciplined, when your parents are chiseling you and shaping you and molding you and scolding you, receive it. Say, “You know what? I am going to understand the D.I.R. principle.”
Several years ago, I traveled to a remote jungle in the Yucatan Peninsula area with some close friends of mine here at this church. We were following a couple of Mayan guides through a dense area in this region. The Mayan guides, in their broken English, told us two words: “Follow me.” That’s all they said.
I could have said to myself, “Ha, these Mayan guides—they don’t have a real education like I do. I’ve been to high school, college, done my masters in doctrinal work. Ha, ha, ha. I know much more about the jungle than they! I watch The Discovery Channel, The Crocodile Hunter! I know what’s going on!” I could have said that. But these guides had forgotten more than I will ever know about wildlife and the jungle. I obeyed their two-word command: “Follow me.”
Mosquitoes were everywhere—up our nostrils, in our ears. We stepped across fire ants and negotiated our way around real, live quicksand. As I was grabbing onto a mangrove root to get through some real swamp, I tripped a little bit and fell into a bush. I went off the path just a couple of steps. I had a backpack with some supplies. It was a brand new backpack, a beautiful gray color. As I got to the end of this trail, I looked down, and part of my backpack was turning white. It had this odd substance on it. I went to get the substance off, and the guides turned. In unison they said, “Don’t! Don’t! Cha-chin!” I said, “Cha-what?” “Cha-chin!” So I didn’t touch this cha-chin stuff. I later discovered that I had rubbed up against one of the most poisonous plants in the jungle. They called it the cha-chin plant, and if you get some cha-chin juice on you, it will rot your skin to the bone.
Young people, we must realize the reality of the cha-chin principle. Proverbs 15:10, “Stern discipline,” or you could say in this context, cha-chin, “awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.” What happens? What happens? We give our children directives sometimes, like “Follow me,” and they respond with stuff like, “Oh, I know more than you do, Mom Mayan guide. I know more than you do, Dad Mayan guide. I know about the jungle. Get out of the way, I’ll forge my own path, I’ll carve it out.” We’re in trouble.
Usually, when young people say, “Why?” or “It’s not fair,” or “Uh!” they don’t want explanations. They want to fight. If they wanted explanations, once we stopped and explained ourselves about everything, then many times they would go, “Oh, now I get it! I won’t rebel any more! Thanks a lot for enlightening me!” I’m all for explaining ourselves. But children, we must trust our parents. They know more than we know.
Speaking of staying on the path, listen to this next verse. Proverbs 10:17, “He who heeds discipline”—remember that we learned the word “heed” means “to pay close attention to”—“shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” When we follow our parents’ directives, it leads to life—life with the Lord Jesus Christ, true life with ourselves. Also, it impacts and influences others. Conversely, this text says, “whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” By the way we handle God’s chain of command, by the way we do the D.I.R. thing, by the way we understand the reality of the cha-chin principle, it influences others—our brothers and sisters, our friends, and other people. See how important discipline is?
Now, at about this juncture, some of the young people are going, “Okay, Ed, I’ve got it, man! The lights have come on. You’re talking about respect. Don’t disrespect your parents, you’re saying. You’re talking about respect.” Well, sort of. You’re in the pool, if you see respect, but you’re just in the shallow end. The goal today is to gain understanding. We want to move from the shallows to the depths.
Ephesians helps us do so. Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Is anyone fuzzy on that one? A bunch of lawyers didn’t draft that one. There are no escape clauses or fine print in here, kids. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise.” Isn’t that great? Our loving God gives us a promise, and then the perks of the promise. Here it is: “that it may go well with you.” Wellness. People are always talking about wellness these days. “I want a life of wellness.” It goes back to obedience. “And that you may enjoy a long life.” Longevity. Wellness and longevity if I honor my father and mother.
Not just respect them. When I honor my father and mother, it means I value them and respect them, both with my attitudes and actions. “Well, Ed, man, my mom and dad know that I love them. I bought my dad this cool card that says ‘I love you’ on it. They know that.” Oh, really. It’s good to say it. I’m all for that. Good for you. It must be with our attitudes and our actions. Our attitude—our facial expressions, our character, our stick-to-itive-ness. We must also act that way.
What if Jesus had just said to us, “I love you. I’ll just stop there.” What if Jesus had said, “I love you. I love you guys.” He said that, but He did something about it. He gave His life; He shed His precious blood on Calvary for your sins and mine. He took the step. He took the initiative. We must do the same.
How many of you are members of AAA, the roadside assistance service? When we have some problems, if we’re members of AAA, we can call them up, and supposedly, they’ll be there on the scene to help us. There’s another AAA I want us to brush through quickly, young people. The first “A” is Apology.
A question, because I believe the Holy Spirit is falling on many young people’s lives right now. I believe the Holy Spirit is convicting you of some things you need to make right with your parents. The power of apology. If we say we love the Lord, and we don’t run to seek forgiveness, then something is not square; something is not resonating; something is not connecting. Once we ask Christ to come into our lives, he gives us the ministry of reconciliation. Thus when we disobey our parents, we see the blockade there, and we’re convicted; we must run and apologize.
What do you need to apologize about? What do you need to say? How do you need to come clean? Maybe you’ve said some mean and hurting and biting words to your step-parent, your mother, your father. Maybe you’ve taken some things from them. Maybe you have really harmed them. Don’t put it off; come clean. Just walk in and say, “Will you forgive me? I was wrong.” I’ll guarantee you they will.
Yesterday morning, when I arrived at the office, there was a letter on my desk in one of my file folders from a gentleman apologizing to me about something he said toward me. It was a riveting letter. When I read and he asked for forgiveness, I said, “Yeah, I’m going to forgive him.” I’ll write him back tomorrow and tell him, “Yes!” The same freedom, the same joy, the same value will occur in your family once you do that. Maybe your parents are older. Maybe they live somewhere else. Call them today. The power of apology.
There’s another “A”: the power of Appreciation. We must appreciate our parents. Have you ever stopped and thanked your parents for all the money they’ve spent on you? For the clothes on your back, the food on your table, the roof over your head? Or are you always saying, “Oh, it’s not fair. I wish I had this like they have, I wish I had that—they have it.” One of the signs of spiritual maturity, friends, is an attitude of appreciation. Have you ever thanked your mom for carrying you around in her womb for nine months? Think of the sacrifices your parents make. It’s unbelievable. Thank them.
Acceptance, that’s the last “A.” It’s been my prayer that the lights would come on, that you would bow the knee and receive this stuff, that you would apply it into your life, that you would say, “Yes, I want to join a chain gang. Yes, I want to understand this D.I.R. principle. Yes, the cha-chin principle. I receive it, God. I want to honor my mother and my father, because I know that ultimately, I’m honoring you, and you’re making me into a diamond.”
The next time your children begin to rebel, the next time your young person starts an argument, you have my permission, parents, to rap. This past week I did some songwriting. I wrote a rap. I’ve entitled it, “The Parent Map Rap.” Let’s hit the music, and I’ll do it for you. This is what I want you to do, parents, the next time your kids begin to argue. [Background rap music starts; Ed puts on shades and a backwards baseball cap and starts rapping.]
I’m the parent, and I’m legit. There’s no use arguing; you might as well quit. You can roll your eyes and say it’s not fair; you’re telling God you really don’t care. So do what I say, all of the time, then your life will have serious rhyme. All the time. Peace of mind. Mom. Dad. Children. Discipline. Yeah!
All right. You might be saying to yourself about now, “What’s up with that?” You know, that rap was taken from the Bible. I’ll go over it again. When your child begins to rebel against you, what do you say? “I’m the parent. I’m legit. No use arguing; you might as well quit.” We discovered today that God has placed us in authority—that critical link in His chain of command, that diamond-in-the-rough situation—to shape and mold our children into beautiful things.
I’m the parent, I’m legit. No use arguing; you might as well quit. You can, children, roll your eyes and say it’s not fair. By doing that, you’re telling God you don’t care. In the Old Testament, do you know what they did with rebellious children? They killed them. Thank God we’re under the new covenant! None of us would be here, would we?
I’m the parent, I’m legit. No use arguing; you might as well quit. You can roll your eyes, say it’s not fair, you’re telling God you really don’t care. So do what I say, young people, every time. That way your life will have serious, serious rhyme. That’s “The Parent Map Rap.”