Foolish Tenderness

My mom came across this the other day while she was reading her Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 19:18.  The verse reads in the King James, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not they soul spare for his crying.”

Here’s what Matthew Henry says about this verse,  “Parents are cautioned against foolish indulgence of their children, that discover an ill temper of mind, not likely to be cured by kindness.  Check it before it is hardened into a habit; especially if it be in itself sinful, as lying, stealing, or the like; in such a case, put on resolution.  When we repress foolish tenderness, we do our best to render our children a comfort to us, and happy in themselves.” 

Foolish tenderness!  Wow, I see how often I’m guilty of that.  Like when I try to pacify and comfort an angry or disobedient child.  For instance,  sometimes when Sarah gets mad at me and hits me and I just try to calm her rather than dealing with that sinful nature.  Or when one of my kids whine or complain and I feel sorry for them instead of matter of factly dealing with it.      

What he’s saying makes sense and I believe it – an ill-temper of mind is not going to be cured by kindness.  I guess it’s that tough love thing.  They are so many times to be tender, when a child is hurt or sad or scared, but I need to remember that when dealing with the sinful nature, I need resolution, I need to be tough!

And the result…  a child who is a comfort to me  and a child who is happy in THEMSELVES.  Our own hearts condemn us when we’ve done wrong and a child’s heart does the same.  If we deal with their sin appropriately,  we are able to free them from their guilt and then they can feel the freedom in their hearts.  Free heart = happy heart.   

Thanks mom for sharing this with me!