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June 12, 2005

Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism

This is written by one of the "older women" God has put in my life. I'm copying it here, so I can find it easily to reread when I need it.

Behaviorism is not a biblical means of dealing with PEOPLE. God has given people mental, emotional and spiritual faculties, a conscience, emotions, etc, and His Word shows over and over again that it is through those avenues that He reaches us and disciplines us and it is through those avenues that we are authorized to reach others and teach and discipline them. Here are some examples--observe the lack of Pearl-style training and instead the presence of grace based discipline:


"we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ" --Col 1:28

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another..." Col 3:16

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart" Col 3:21

"We proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us....you are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."--1 Thess 2: 7 and following

"we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk) that you may excel still more for you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus."--1 Thess 4:1-2

"We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you...and we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all men...."--1 Thess 5:12 and following

"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following." 1 Tim 4:6

And so on, and so on. In fact the very existence of the Bible itself is an example of grace-based discipline. God COULD have made it so that we didn't have a Bible, we just had bolts of lightning hit us when we got out of line. In a world like that, there would be no need of a Bible.

In the above examples, perhaps someone would say that it doesn't apply because Paul is teaching the churches how to disciple adults in the community of faith, but I believe that this emphasis on teaching, encouraging and admonishing is an EXAMPLE of the biblical relational model for teaching and learning, and although he is not discussing (for the most part) a parent/child situation he is discussing the situation of how people in some kind of spiritual authority are to disciple the rest. But notice too, when motherhood and fatherhood do come up in Paul's discourse, his tone and language does not change--and mothers are held up as a known example of gentleness, fathers are held up as known examples of patient instruction.

If we fail to notice and appreciate Paul's "grace-based" model, perhaps it's because it is too familiar and we take his level of civility and restraint of power for granted.

Thanks, katiekind. My continual prayer is to understand and integrate God's grace and the Gospel in my inner and external life.


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Posted by: Kim in ON at June 12, 2005 03:31 PM

Our understanding of grace and the gospel make such a difference here. In my "law" days, this sort of thinking would have been offensive, ridiculous and scary. It isn't until we grasp God's grace in our own hearts that we can embrace this for our kids.

The article is excellent and very affirming of some things I am working on. Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by: sparrow at June 13, 2005 10:28 AM

Good stuff.

Posted by: blestwithsons at June 13, 2005 04:24 PM

Today, I appreciate this more than ever. Solo parenting for a few days and having to remind myself how we parent and why, reading this was perfect timing in my life.

thank you.

Posted by: Tracy at June 14, 2005 10:15 AM

absolutely wonderful!

Posted by: Feminine Warrior at June 14, 2005 12:52 PM

Great post. Thanks for posting this.

Posted by: graham at October 5, 2006 07:12 PM

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