Sin is deceptive. Parents, this is one truth that should never be far from your thoughts. Sin never presents itself for what it is. Anger appears to be a just response when one is wronged. A lie seems to be the easy way out of a difficult situation. Pornography presents itself as an outlet for perceived needs. This is the nature of sin. It seems to be the right thing to do at the moment. No matter how long you live, sin will present itself in this way.
Ephesians 4:14 warns of the deceptive, crafty schemes of sin. Proverbs 4:19 says that those who follow wicked paths are incapable of knowing why they stumble. Those who sin are deceiving themselves or they are being deceived. This requires something unexpected. We must have compassion(Ephesians 4:32). Yes, there must be concern and correction given when children disobey and indulge their flesh. But it is also important to remember that sin is cruelly deceptive. Children have believed a lie when they think they must keep a toy away from an eager sibling. Sin is taunting them to trust their fleshly desires that it is only right that they should have the toy.
It is never comforting to realize that you have been duped or misled by someone. This is what sin does. It encourages your children to take the wrong path and then mocks them when they do. For a young child this deception can be devastating. Therefore, when you discipline remember the ugliness of sin. Yes, children are complicit and guilty when they sin. But, it is good to remember the deceitful devastating impact of sin. This is where compassion and gentleness come in. Sin leads to a lack of security. Notice what Paul says about this:
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown
here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of
men in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14
This is why harsh words are not helpful when addressing sin. Harshness only adds to the insecurity that sin brings. Thus, Paul follows the model of Proverbs 16 when he says in verse 15 of this same chapter that you must speak the truth in love.
Have the courage and wisdom to respond to your children with kind compassion when they sin. They have just been played by the schemes of the master deceiver. Yes, you must discipline. But discipline in love and mercy. God’s way is a better than the world’s way. Don’t allow your discipline to be perceived as kicking your children when they are already down. Sin is always at work. The enemy wants your good efforts as a parent to be seen as just more attacks on your children. Counter this with God’s wisdom. Use pleasant words to speak the truth in love to your children. Have the courage to show compassion.