The apostle James writes, “Yes and no is all you need to say, if you say anything more, you will be condemned” (James 5:12). What you do in your home is your own business. How your raise your children is the primary responsibility of the parents. We let them think that they live in their own house but they don’t. They live in your house. As a rule, they do not pay the taxes, or the utilities, the rent or mortgage, the insurance, or provide the furniture and the thousand and one other things that makes a house more livable. They will only stay in your house for a relatively short time, fall in love, get married and say “bye bye”.
One of the three girls that Ann and I adopted was named Sharlene. We looked at the ‘rap’ sheet before the adoption and it read, “she is a consummate liar, steals, and is very clever and sneaky”. To survive the first nine years of her life (being cast about from here to there), these traits were perfected to simply survive.
During the time of confirmation (the period of time before the adoption is legalized), these traits and others (before unmentioned) surfaced. Ann felt, for the good of our home we should return her to the Orphan Home. We studied, prayed, watched and listened. As somewhat of a last resort, I took her into her bedroom. I sat on the bed and faced Sharlene. I had a sheet of paper and referring to it said, “Maybe you didn’t know but each night you have stayed with us you were to pay $25.00 dollars. For each meal you were charged $3.00, and the total you owe is $960.00 dollars. Now you have to pay up or go back to “Christ Haven” (Orphan Home).
She burst into tears and cried, “I don’t have no money, I can’t pay any of that”. “It’s pay up or go back,” I stated without expression. “But Daddy, I don’t have no money”, she cried as the tears continued to stream down her face. I sat and she stood for a few minutes that seemed like a long time. It was true, just like the other 5 children. None of them paid anything to live in my house.
I looked through my own tears and said, “Do you have arms?” She looked on both sides and nodded, not understanding. “Put them around Daddy neck.” She did. “Do you have lips?” I felt her little hand touch her lips. “Kiss Daddy’s cheek.” She did. “Do you have a voice?” I asked. “Whisper in Daddy’s ear I love you.” She did. Then I brought her head up and eye to eye said, “If you are going to live in Daddy’s house, you have to pay!”
Paul wrote, “Children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honor your mother and father; (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with you and you will live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3). The government has no business in telling us how to raise our kids, but God does. What would happen in our homes if the SECRET POWER OF A ONE TIME TELL was mandated. Two generations ago it was the hallmark of most every home. Mother and Dad spoke once and when that was understood, they expected us to obey. When your child disobeys you in ‘little things’ they dishonor you in little things. Have we grown (?) to love our babies too much in this post modern era to see the beauty and power of simple obedience? They know just how many “I told you’s” it takes before your anger reaches the boiling point. “I told you, and told you, and told you, and told you, and if I have to tell you one more time, I’m going to get out of this chair and clean your plow”. If you are sick and tired of your kids disrespecting you, defying you, dishonoring you, then this is what I recommend. Have a special meeting with them (one or more) preferably with both father and mother present. Confess to them plainly, “We have failed to raise you right. We have allowed you to disobey any and all things we say that you don’t want to do. We are asking you (each one) to forgive us in our neglect and malfeasance of our parental teaching and discipline. Wait for each one to say the powerful words, “I forgive you Mom and I forgive you Dad”. Now you can say “We forgive you (each one) for the many times you have failed to obey us. Now, this is the way we are going to live FROM NOW ON!” Tough love- you bet, and the first tow weeks will be difficult, but after that, and new peace and quietness will envelope your home. The writer of Hebrews gives the answer. “Be patient when you are being corrected! This is how God treats his children. Don’t all parents correct their children? . . . Our earthly fathers corrected us and we showed them respect . . . It is never fun to be corrected (discipline, chastised). In fact at the time it is always painful. If we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace” (Hebrews 12:7-12).
Disobey – dishonored. Discipline and correction, restores honor. Let THE SECRET POWER OF A ONE TIME TELL be the one unbreakable rule of your household. Peace!