Shepherding Ch.4: You’re in Charge

October 29, 2007

23127637.jpg“Our culture does not like authority…we need a biblical understanding of authority. What is the nature of the parent’s authority over a child? Is it absolute or relative? Is the authority vested in the parent because of the relative size difference between parents and young children? Are we in charge because we are smarter and more experienced? Are we called to rule because we are not sinners and they are? Do we have the right to tell our kids to do anything we want them to do? If you don’t answer questions such as these, you will be tentative and insecure in discharging your duty to God and to your children.” (Tripp, 27).

So opens chapter 4. Just who is in charge of families? The fact that this question is even being discussed is cause for concern, if not alarm. While most parents would state that they are “in control” of their children, in actuality, exposed by their actions, children are the real order-givers. Obviously, this relationship gone awry is a large cause of familial problems.

One of the main reasons that authority is not properly exhibited in the family relationship is because our culture has a problem with the concept of authority.

“The culture in which you live does not have a biblical understanding of authority. We think of authority as derived either from overwhelming force or consent…our culture has no notion of intelligent, thinking persons willingly placing themselves under authority. When we allow our children to become independent decision makers we give them a false idea of liberty and a mistaken notion about freedom. Freedom is not found in autonomy, it is found in obedience” (Psalm 119:44-45).

The Bible answers this question: “As a parent, you have authority because God calls you to be an authority in your child’s life.” (Tripp, 28). You have a biblical call to be in charge.

You also have a biblical call to obedience. You have a mandate to act to be the chief advisor and disciplinarian to your child. God has called you to a more profound task than being only a care-provider.

One of the areas of being in charge in your parenting that Tripp addresses is having humility in your task.

“It is sobering to realize that you correct your child by God’s command. You stand before him as God’s agent to show him his sin. Just as an ambassador is conscious of functioning in behalf of the country that has sent him, so the parent must be aware of the fact that he is God’s representative to the child.” (Tripp, 33).

On anger:

“I have spoken to countless parents who genuinely thought their unholy anger had a legitimate place in correction and discipline. They reasoned that they could bring their children to a sober fear of disobeying if they showed anger…What that child learns is the fear of man, not the fear of God…unholy human anger may teach your children to fear you. They may even behave better, but it will not bring about biblical righteousness.” (Tripp, 34).

On discipline:

“Discipline is corrective, not punitive. The primary thrust of discipline is not to take revenge, but to correct. The discipline of a child is a parent refusing to be a willing party to his child’s death.” (Proverbs 19:18) (Tripp, 37)

There is a difference between punshment and discipline.

1. How do you present your authority to your children?

2. How would you describe your job as God’s agent for discipline?


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