When I was a brand new Christian and first studied the Book of Revelation one section of scripture jumped out at me as being very odd – in a book full of very unusual situations: The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. (Revelation 16:8-9 NIV) Here was God pouring out his wrath on mankind during the last days on earth, after repeatedly judging them with twelve previous plagues and yet they still cursed him rather than bow before Him to ask for forgiveness. At the time I found this behavior quite inexplicable because I thought how could people be so obstinate and rebellious in the face of obvious displays of God’s reality and power? It's not like they could argue anymore about the actual existence of God!
Over the years I’ve pondered how the heart of man could get so hardened to get to the point described above, and I think I may be seeing the answer. Over the past 100 years with each passing generation, the heart and attitudes of people appear to grow colder, courser and less respectful. The generation born after 1940 (commonly referred to as the Baby Boomer generation) seemed to be the first to depart significantly from their parents as it relates to respect for things beyond themselves. Their focus on self-fulfillment, which reached its maturity in the turbulent decade of the 1960s, really marked a culture shift away from the humility and respect of earlier generations.
Uninhibited sexual gratification, financial greed and a rejection of any accountability to God’s Word opened the door to all kinds of social ills and moral relativism that quite naturally were passed on to their children’s generations. The slide toward oblivion only increased as each successive generation felt more and more comfortable in living solely to satisfy their feelings and desires. As a result since 1950, millions of children have been aborted, most of them because they were inconvenient. The majority of children are now sexually active and promiscuous before age 21, bringing with it unwanted pregnancies (at least the ones not aborted), sexually transmitted diseases, and psychological trauma over broken relationships. Young adults are now raised in a “me first” or “look at me” culture with any dissenting opinions or corrections being a reason for a barrage of curse words, beatings or drive-by shootings.
We are now at the generation that has little or no respect for themselves or anyone else. Tattoos are now the identification signal of choice across all socio-economic and ethnic groups which is not surprising given that God said: Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves…I am the Lord.(Leviticus 19:28 NIV) More and more children are born into single female households (at least the ones not aborted), due to the explosion of casual sex where commitment is an after-thought. The children from these unions then enter into a culture where they are not raised with the balance that a two-parent household provides, so in turn they inevitably produce more children with less moral standards because their parents had little or none to offer. This is definitely the road that would eventually lead to the generation described in the first paragraph.
So as a parent today what do you do to counter the tide, and at least give your kids an opportunity to avoid being sucked into this wash? God provides some clear guidelines throughout the Book of Proverbs: Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. (Proverbs 19:18 NIV); Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15 NIV); Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death. (Proverbs 23:13-14 NIV); The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. (Proverbs 29:15 NIV). There is an obvious common denominator throughout these passages of scripture and that is the need for discipline over children. This has been incredibly lacking in the rearing of the generations over the past 50 years, and as the Lord predicted, the lack of it has produced the culture that we have today.
As a parent, you must discipline your child with the “rod” as God puts it, when necessary. Nowadays it is not the politically correct thing to do, but that is what you will get from a largely Godless society unwittingly intent on eventually producing anarchy. No responsible parent wishes to resort to corporal punishment over their children. It should be used as a last resort. To minimize and eventually avoid this practice altogether the Lord advises: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NIV) Train them from infancy in the ways that are correct. By reinforcing your values consistently at a young age, the need for corporal punishment will generally be greatly reduced. Either way, as a responsible parent, always heed God’s Word over that of the secular culture.
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