Proverbs 16:6 says By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.
It’s not that rules are inappropriate, or that teaching consequences to misbehavior is a euphemism for “permissive parenting.” Rules are good, consequences are helpful; yet even we ignore painful consequences in our own lives because we love ourselves more than God. Rules and consequences are no substitute from learning about our God. And if we are going to teach our children how to fear the Lord, we need to know what the fear of the Lord is, and how to teach it.
This passage encourages me in the importance of teaching verses about the character of God, rather than focusing exclusively on “do” verses: obey your parents, be kind, and so on. I cannot trust my emotions, which tell me that I’m wasting a good opportunity to teach my child how he should behave. That just shows that I have more to learn about the fear of God as motivation to choose to do right.
Here is another quote from Parenting with Wisdom:
One cannot fear God without some measure of understanding with regard to God’s character and holiness. The consequences of sin are feared because sin is first hated, and the character and righteousness of God loved. It is this awareness of who God is that causes a mortal being to reverence love, and respect Him.
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