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Christian Discipline and Effective Christian Parenting

 

 

[Christian Discipline
and Effective Christian Parenting]

 

Copyright 2013 Brian Warner

Published by Brian Warner at Shakespir

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Forward

Prologue

Introduction

Rules in Relationships

Breaking Rules

Values

Values, Rules and Behavior

Law, Rules and Guilt

Definitions

Self-Punishment

Law, Sin and Guilt

The Law of Relationship, Love, Discipline

Understanding Punishment

The Law of Sin and Death

Black Hole, the Unconscious

Forgiveness

Reconciliation

Self-Punishment, the Law of Sin and Death

Roadway to Happiness

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

About the Author and Other Books by This Author

Connect with Brian Warner

 

 

Forward

In 1978, I received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, to develop and implement a training program, in southeastern Massachusetts, utilizing small church groups. This program would train participants to understand the effect of family relationships, both good and bad, and their influence on the use and abuse of drugs.

The purpose of these groups, after training, would be to continue to meet within their church organizations, and act as a support group for families in crisis.

Six groups were developed and trained in a variety of church locations and denominations, and included Catholic, Presbyterian and Baptist groups in Brockton, MA, Seekonk, MA, Fall River, MA, Taunton, MA, and Cape Cod. Each group was tested before and after the training in a variety of areas and subjects in regard to relationships and their influence on behavior.

Each group showed significant growth in understanding and behavior through the use of this pre and post testing method. Three out of the six groups continued to meet and provide support services to their local church, after the completion of the training.

The final report was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, and was rejected because of the spiritual overtones and language of the program, even though they agreed the program was completely successful.

The following pages are a compilation of the notes from each session that were mailed to each participant weekly during the eight week training program.

 

Prologue

‘‘Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from those ways. ”

It has always been difficult for me to understand the full meaning of this verse from the Bible in the book of Proverbs. It always seemed to go against the thought that a child should determine his or her own destiny. Free choice is the password to most child rearing psychology that we read about. The problem is that free choices are often the wrong choices and bear consequences for those that make them and those around them.

The Bible dictates a process in raising children that is intended to reveal God’s presence and truths in the relationship between the parent and child. Prayer and Bible study of course, are important in this process. Of even greater importance are the values that influence the behavior of the parent toward the child, spouse and others.

Raising children is not easy and does not come naturally. It requires wisdom, unselfish love, and proper training. It is not the responsibility of the school system, the other parent, the church, or the state to “raise up a child in the way he should go”. It is the responsibility of the parent.

The best foundation for raising a child is God’s word, and His life, demonstrated through the lives of the parents. The Lord gives children as a blessing and provides love, wisdom and power for their growth and development.

All of this is easy during good weather. It is not that easy during the storm.

 

 

Introduction

 

The focus of the program was discussed and we talked about the goals and personal expectations that each of us have for the time we plan to spend together over the eight sessions. Programs that concentrate on changing behavior or skills have not been proven to be that effective. There are no set of skills or tricks that can be used to become a more effective parent We can learn some technique or new way of dealing with our children and others that we have relationships with, but generally speaking, that new way usually gives way to the old way after a short period of time. Why? Because simply learning a new behavior or technique for handling our problems in relating to others usually does not deal with the problems we have that cause the poor communications in the first place.

Our eight sessions together will be spent examining our values and how they are reflected in our behavior. If we can become clear about our values as they compare to our standards of health and our faith, we have more of a chance to change our behavior that we want to change and behavior that we do not like will more likely stay changed.

Oftentimes we know that we are not that effective as parents or in other relationships when we hit crises times. When relationships start to break down and communications go haywire, those are the times we should be communicating and relating the best, but most often the opposite is true. Those times are the worst in terms of effective communication and effective relationships that reflect a real ability to handle and deal with crises issues.

There are many crises issues that a normal family is confronted with, and there are many crises issues that individual relationships within a family have to deal with and try to resolve.

We are in an era, now, where the family unit and the relationships within the family are not seen or identified as important and vital. It seems as though all of us are moving away from family relationships toward outside interests where we can fulfill society’s expectations on us to “do your own thing”. There is a current train of thought in our culture that moving away from the family and becoming more independent is a sign of maturity.

One of the crises that many families have to deal with is this very erosion of family integrity. How can a family deal with other crises issues and problems, and how can a relationship within a family be a resource for crises issues when the relationships within the family itself are not seen as important enough to be of top priority and concern?

 

Each of us shared what we expected out of the eight week program after making a list of our individual expectations. The following is a summary of those lists that we shared with each other:

a. to learn how to teach children that Christian moral values are right

b. to discover more of what we can do at home to counteract the influence of peer pressure

c. to learn how to teach kids to internalize values and not always be a follower of the crowd

d. to be a better Christian parent

d. to gain some knowledge about values and doctrine and how to teach these things and share them with others

e. to know how to be a better Christian example to my children because we know that they learn by example.

f. to learn more about becoming a better Christian parent in reaching myy kids

g. to build a core community of Christian parents that can support and learn from each other and be a resource for others.

i. to learn more about raising children and teaching children

j. to have better communications between husband and wife and children

k. to share and discuss with others the experience of dealing with kids

l. to have the support of others who will say don’t give up!

m. to share our fears and concerns about being a parent and get more secure – have more faith – in our roles as parents and in our ability to deal with all relationships

n. to understand more from our experiences as parents, Christians, and people in relationships; and how important our faith, our values, and our standards of health relate together in these relationships

o. To get to know each other better

 

 

 

Rules in Relationships

Are there rules that govern relationships, all relationships? Are there rules that we can identify that are standards for the way we should relate to each other?

There must be standards that we operate by, otherwise, we would never feel offended, or ever feel wrong or right about the way we relate to each other. We know whether we are right or wrong in our relationships and the way we relate precisely because there are rules about relating and relationships.

During our listing on the board of all of the rules that we could think of, we had an interesting discussion about the rules of giving and taking in relationship and relating. In some relationships, it is a rule that both people are usually unaware of that one gives and the other takes. This rule can vary in intensity. In some cases the rule is 50-50. We have all heard of that before. I give you something and then you have to give me something back of equal value. Whether it is dollars, affection, compliments, time, or whatever, it is a 50-50 deal for some relationships. In others, the split is more like 90-10, where one person gives 90% and the other person gives 10%. Some relationships have the rule of 100-0, where the standard and rule that controls most of the behavior in the relationship is " I give and you take all of the time." This phrase, by the wav is usually said when that rule of 100-0 is starting to break down m a relationship; and is most often said in a very loud voice.

As it is, most of us have made “deals” (knowingly or not) that reflects this credit and debit system in our relationships, particularly in the family. Unconsciously or even sometime consciously, we keep long mental notes or accounting ledgers of who owes who what in terms of favors, love, time, work, etc.

Where do you stand in most of your relationships in terms of the ledger system of relating? If you are like me, most often you become aware of those deals when you start to get fed-up or feel cheated or offended in a relationship; or when someone else lets you know that they are not buying-in any more to whatever rule you have created with them.

We talked about the relationship that some call 100- 100. When one person gives in this kind of a relationship, they give 100% and the other person takes 100%. And when it comes time, or the circumstances call for a change in the giving and taking, the other person is able to give 100% while the original giver is able, now, to take 100%.

This kind of relationship of 100-100, each person giving 100% to the other when it is needed, is the kind of rule that can be more adequately described by the word Love, without the quotes around it as in the deal relationships described above.

Where do you stand in your relationships? Think of the important ones and jot down how you see the split.

Did you ever hear someone say “I can only take so much.”..? Sometimes people will not take what you want to give. They have a different rule about giving and taking than you do. There are some people that cannot take from you (affection, kindness, courtesy, love, understanding, patience, etc.), because they are afraid they will have to …give it back. These people may be under the ledger system of relationships with us when we are not with them. Do you know anyone like this that you have a relationship with?

Each of us shared and we brainstormed the rules we were aware of about relationships, They didn’t have to be right. They only had to make sense in that we all felt that rule one time or another in our lives and in the history of our relationships with adults, kids, and parents. We talked about personal experiences that were a reflection of the particular rule we were talking about.

When we think about Rules about relating and relationships, there are plenty. The following is a list of a few that we identified:

 

1. The Ten Commandments

2. Respect each other

3. Give another of your time

4. Good communications (talking and listening) is a rule

5. Trust

6. Love

7. Truth

8. No lying

9. No breaking promises or commitments

10. Be reliable

11. Faith in one another

12. Consistency

13. Responsibility

14. There are rewards in relationships for following the rules

15. It is bettor to give than to receive

16. 50-50 is sometimes a rule

17. Love much. ..expect much

18. Love much… accept much

19. Freedom

20. Privacy

21. Unselfish

22. Giving

23. Do as I say and not as I do

24. Respect authority

25. Dad is always right

26. My turf (my house)…my home (my rules)

27. Parents make the rules (this is sometimes a rule)

28. There are rules about touching, kissing, etc.

29. The laws of society

30. Stereotypes can be considered rules that effect behavior

31. Smile

32. There are plenty of rules about expressing emotions

33. Self-control

34. Manners, Emily Post

35. Clothing

36. Tact and sensitivity

 

As we discussed, a rule is anything that affects our behavior. Martha related an experience she had with an old recipe book that used the word rule in place of the word directions. When there is an ingredient missing, you have not followed the rules and the end result does not taste right. The same is true of our relationships and the way we relate to each other. If we do not follow the rules, we do not get the desired results. The problem is that people will do more than just complain at the dinner table when tire rules of relationship and relating are broken.

How do we know when a rule is broken? And how do we know there are rules about relationships anyway? Most of the way that we know there are rules, whether we acknowledge it or not, is when we are offended in a relationship or another gets offended. When rules are broken, others get offended and react. We also react. How do we know when a rule is broken? We know by the reactions of others and ourselves:

 

1. Hurt

2. Angry

3. Disappointment

4. Sad

5. Glad (sometimes people get glad when others break rules)

6. Silence

7. Discouragement

 

Does this mean that anytime we feel or see these reactions that a rule has been broken9 Probably; and the problem, of course, is to identify the rule that has been broken.

It was pointed out in our discussion, there are good rules and there are bad rules. The interesting point is that people react almost the same to having a bad rule of relationship broken as when a good rule is broken. Even when a bad rule is broken, they react by being hurt, angry, disappointed, etc.

There are good rules and there are bad rules and they both have the same kind of control over our behavior to comply with them and to feel hurt or offended when they are broken.

 

 

Where do these rules come from about relationships and relating? Where do we learn them? We made a list on the board:

 

1. Tradition

2. Society

3. Experience

4. God

5. From the way we are raised as children

6. Trial and error

7. Parents

8. By example of others

9. Friends and family

10. School

11. Church

12. Ourselves – our nature

13. Satan (take a look at the story of the fall in Genesis

And see if you can identify any of Satan’s rules

in his dealing with Adam and Eve)

 

Assignment: What is the difference between ideals, standards, rules and small “1” law, and capital “L” Law?

What do I do when a rule is broken? How do you know when you break rules of relationships? Take time to identify those times that rules of relating were broken.

Maybe they were not on our list. Make note of those and write down your experiences.

What do you do when you break the rules or a rule? Take time to identify what you do. No faking it!

Note what you do and what others do to try to handle broken rules of relating or relationships. How do you or others try to cover-up or try to deal with the rule that was broken in the relationship?

One of the ways that we do learn the rules is opposite to one of the rules that we mentioned earlier. ‘Do as I say and not as I do…” is really not a true rule in the sense that it really works and is good. It doesn’t and it isn’t. It is impossible to not do when that is supposed to be the thing you are supposed to say – because that is what you are supposed to do…do as I say…etc. Confusing, isn’t it? It always is. Why? Because it is impossible. We learn by our parents and others’ behavior, and if part of their behavior was saying one thing and doing another than that is the tiling we learn to do; we learn to say one thing and do another. That is how a lot of us were taught, not knowingly, or out of intention, on the part of our parents friends or teachers.

Behavior teaches: not words. Of course, words are part of behavior; and when they contradict our behavior, there is confusion. Make sense? And that is exactly what is taught: contradiction and confusion between words and behavior.

Are there conflicting values and rules? There are good rules and bad rules. Saying one thing and doing another is an example of conflicting values and standards or rules.

Breaking Rules

We began this session with a review of what we discussed last week. All of us would like to improve our relationships with each other: husbands and wives, parents and children, and friend to friend. Whether we are at work relating to people m the context of our jobs or at home in a relationship with our families, all of us agree that we could be more able to handle the relationships that we have. Most often, we know when we are not doing a good job in our relationships when something goes w wrong. Either we think we are doing something wrong, or someone else has done something wrong that has involved us. People often ask, ‘‘What’s gone wrong, here?” Somehow, they know that something has gone wrong. But what has gone wrong?

The thing that has gone wrong is that there are rules that are broken: Rules that we have in our relating and in our relationships w with other people. And there are a lot of rules. There are many and we listed many of the ones that we are aware of last session. But there are rules that we buy into that we are not aware of, and very rarely talk about them. The way we find out about these unconscious rules, usually, is when they are broken and we feel the pain of a broken rule hit our relationship

Sometimes the rules are good, and sometimes the rules we have about relating and relationships are not good. The ones that are not good we could probably call bad habits. We all have some of those. Oftentimes these rules that are not too good are the ones we have for giving and taking or as we discussed last week, the ledger system of rules in a relationship: 50-50, 90-10, 100-0, etc.

If we took the time to stop and think when we feel angry, hurt or offended in a relationship, we would discover that there was some rule in operation in the relationship with that person which was broken. In addition, we would probably discover that we never really decided to operate by that rule with tire person. We just did. It was an unconscious deal that was made. Maybe the deal was made over-night or maybe it took a long time to work out the arrangements. This often happens in marriages that can quickly develop into 50-50 deals or 90-10 deals or rules of relating and relationship, or may take a fairly long time to develop.

Values

We all have rules for relating that are not good. They are bad habits, or whatever. But what we want to do is to get clearer about the rules that are right, and get clear about the ones that really work and are understood as being a part of a larger rule that is a clear reflection of our faith and values.

What are values? Are our relationships and the way we relate in our relationships a reflection of our values? Certainly our willingness to communicate more effectively is a reflection of a value.

Each of us listed five things in our lives that are of real value to us and shared why we considered each of value. Someone mentioned that these are the things that really make us happy and that might be an important criterion for thinking about values. As someone else identified, though, same of the things that we value the most are the things that can cause a great deal of unhappiness in our lives.

Each of us shared their list of values with the group:

 

1. God, faith, church – thirteen of us had this as a value.

2. Health – four people chose this as an important value.

3. Family – twelve had this as a value in their lives.

4. Friends – eight had friends as a value.

5. House – five had their houses as important values.

6. Car – three of us saw their car as value.

7. T.V., radio – one

8. Job, career – four

9. Sports – two

10. Being able to see – one

11. Learning – one

12. Self-acceptance – one

13. Communication – two

14. To receive trust and love from someone you trust and love – two

15. Children and our relationship with them -two

16. Nature – one

17. Pets – one

18. Hobbies – one

19. Music – one

20. Memories – one

21. Technology – one

22. Camping and vacations – one

23. The future – one

 

Values, Rules and Behavior

As we discussed, our behavior has more impact than our words. Even though we could say, that our words or what we say is behavior, the impact of what we do in our relationships with others is determined by all of what we do and not on just what we say.

How does this fit in with our discussion of rules about relating? We went through a process of logic:

 

1. Behavior is determined by our rules (whether we know about the rules or not).

2. Our rules reflect what we really value.

3. Our rules are our values.

4. What we value (really), makes our rules.

 

 

As you look over the list of values, you see that most of the things that we really value center on relationships and relating.

The following is a definition that you may want to consider and discuss for our next session together:

 

Relationship is the sum-total-quality of our relating to someone.

 

We could be relating to someone, but if we don’t have a relationship then the quality of the relating is out-of-whack. At any given moment, the quality of our relating could be good, or the quality could be bad; and when the quality of the relating is bad, we are out of relationship.

You see? Right away, again, we begin to talk about the idea of rules in a relationship, and rules that apply to the way we relate and communicate with each other and our children. Since the rules, values and behavior all tie in together, they are all a reflection of what we value at any given moment. When our behavior is aligned with our values and rules, we have a relationship. When our behavior or the-other behavior is not aligned with the rules or values that we have then…well, there is trouble.

Law, Rules and Guilt

What happens when you break the rules or values, when your behavior does not coincide with the rules and values we know that we should have or think that we have in our relationships and in our relating. Oftentimes we are not aware that there are rules existing in any particular moment that effect our behavior. But we do know that they are there (whether we are aware of it or not) when they are broken. We know that they are there because we react to them being broken.

The problem is that we pay more attention to our reaction and the feelings involved than we do to trying to discover what rule was broken (on our part or the other persons).

What happens? We listed some of the reactions or feelings on the blackboard.

 

1. Resentful

2. Angry

3. Tension

4. Fear

5. Anxiety

6. Loneliness

 

When we feel these, we know that a rule or rules of relating and relationship have been broken. Actually, the one word that better describes those feelings of having broken a rule is guilt. The sum total of the feelings listed above is guilt. An interesting thing to note is that these feelings, all-together, are also a good description of someone that is depressed.

But do we get depressed just from breaking a rule? Well, maybe we need to be stronger about what we are breaking when we talk about the bonds of a relationship. A better word to describe something that would cause the kinds of feelings of anger, resentment, tension, fear and loneliness when it is broken would be the word Law. A law has more control over us than a rule and the kind of law we are talking about in relationships is the kind that we cannot escape from.

The Law of Relationship is somewhat like the Law of gravity.

The Law of gravity is all around us and all over the universe. Even though we might not acknowledge that there is such a law, or understand this law of gravity, it still affects us. We are most aware of the law of gravity when we ‘Tall-down-go-boom.”

It’s uncanny that the same thing happens in our relationships with people. We become aware (hopefully) of the Law of Relationships each time we fall-down-go- boom with another person, or they do the same with us.

We become aware of the law and its all pervasive sense through all of the feelings we mentioned above: Guilt.

 

Assignment: Look everywhere you can and find Laws about relationships or relating. You may want to look in the Bible, psychology texts or other texts. Find those things that you once thought were rules that are really Law; share with us Thursday evening. Also, look over the list of rules we made during our first session together and identity which ones are rules, which ones are standards and which could be identified as Law?

Also, what is Guilt? We talked some about this our last meeting, but think about what your understanding of that word is. What does the word guilt mean?

Continue on with the first assignment to identify seven times during the week that a rule was broken. How did people react? What did they do to try to deal with the feelings involved?

What did the people involved try to do to cover-up or try to deal with the rule that was broken?

Also, identify times that standards were broken. Do people act differently when standards are broken than when rules are broken? And how about Law? Do people react differently when there is a Law that has been violated in a relationship vs. a rule being broken? Observe some situations and share your observations with us during the next tune we meet,

Definitions

Review and definitions. We spent some time reviewing our concepts about rules, and how this concept of rule compares to the idea of standards and the idea of Law. Webster defines these words as follows:

Standard, a principle used as a basis for judgment; implying average; morals., considered acceptable to live up to.

Rule, a principle of regulation governing conduct, action procedure; under control of; speaking of behavior in general terms.

Law. Webster defines this word as 1) in the context of society and government and the laws that we agree to live by as a society; and 2) a rule of conduct or action formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority.

In terms of relating and relationships, standards have very little central over our behavior toward others. Rules are more binding and have more control over our behavior than standards. Law? Well, Law is binding, as Webster defines it. If we think of it in terns of our behavior, Law (capital L) has absolute control. In other words there is no way to avoid the Law.

In our original list of rules about relationships and relating, try to find standards, rules, and Law as they apply to your life. Which would be considered standards, having minimum control over your behavior? And which would you identify as rules; remembering that rules have more control over your behavior than standards?

Finally, see if there were any Laws on our original listAre there any rules there there that you could consider as Law and having absolute control over your behavior.

One of the ideas that we talked about to explain and understand this concept of Law in relationships was the Law of gravity. This is a law, in that it has absolute control over us. There is no way to avoid the law of gravity. No matter what you do or where you go you are under the law of gravity. I can remember as a child being asked if I could break the law of gravity. I said, ”..sure., .watch this” And I jumped in the air as high as I could. I thought that the longer I could stay in the air; the higher I could jump, I thought that would be breaking the law of gravity. When I hit the ground, I said “…there.” The person asking me asked why did I come back down.

That day, I learned a lesson about a Law (capital L), particularly about the law of gravity. You cannot escape this kind of Law, no matter where you go or what you try to do to break it.

We discussed this idea about Law in relationships. There are Laws. One of the Laws we are talking about incorporates the concept of guilt.

When mistakes are made in relationships, and the Law or rules are violated, most of us feel guilty. We described these feelings as anxiety, tension, fear, anger, and sometimes terror. This combination of feelings is a classical description of depression: when these feelings are underground in us.

We talked about how infants feel terror when there is a break in their relationship with their parents. They see this relationship as life-giving. And when there is a break in it, for whatever reason, they have these feelings of guilt (fear, tension, anxiety, anger, terror). The more severe the break – or the more severe the Law is broken – the more severe will be the feelings. In us, as adults, we call this feeling guilt.

How do children deal with these feelings that feel like death? How do we deal with them? How do we deal with our depression? These feelings that we described above are feelings of death. Why? Because there is a break in a life-giving relationship for the child. Because the child sees the relationship as life giving, he/she will experience feelings of death (terror, anxiety, anger, fear, depression). As we grow into adults, we never lose tins capacity to feel guilt, to feel those feelings of death, the feelings of being separated in a relationship, either with an adult or with a child.

What does a child do when there is a break and they feel these feelings? They are horrible feelings. They are terrible. We witnessed this in the film on maternal deprivation. The child does all kinds of things in order not to feel these feelings of death. Sometimes they restrict their breathing in order to cut down on their energy supply and thereby not feel. Sometimes they become hyperactive, because when they sit or lie still, they feel those feelings of terror, and depression.

We talked about the wide variety of behavior that children and adults exhibit to deal with these feelings.

As we were discussing the things that adults and children do to avoid feelings of guilt (as we described these feelings above), someone mentioned that these behaviors looked like they were punishing: as if the person were trying to deal with these feelings of guilt by punishing themselves.

 

Self-Punishment

A child bangs their head against the floor and wall. This behavior is incredible. The child is trying not to feel those feelings that we described before. But they are doing it by punishing themselves. They don’t know that they are punishing themselves; all they know is that they are doing something that’s replacing or covering up feelings that are terrible, feelings of terror and depression.

We can see this kind of behavior to the extreme in adults. It is called suicide. It is the ultimate form of punishment that a person can give themselves, to try to deal with guilt feelings. Does it work? That is a ridiculous question:

Does it work for the child that is hyperactive or banging his/her head on the floor? Another ridiculous question:

Think about this Law of behavior in relationships and the ridiculous and incredible things that we do to punish ourselves and each other as a way of dealing with guilt. Where does this guilt come from? It comes from a break in the Law of relationship and relating.

As time passes and people punish themselves more and more, sometimes in very subtle ways, it becomes more and more unhealthy. We talked about some of the things we do when we feel guilty or depressed (which is covered up guilt).

 

1. Go out and buy more clothes than we can afford

2. Eat a lot

3. Drugs… drink

4. Over-work ourselves

5. Gamble

6. Sleep all the time

7. Get into fights all the time

8. Get other people to punish us

9. Get into a lot of trouble

10 Have an affair or have a lot of sex

We finally realized that anything we do to deal with guilt that is unhealthy is punishment. Anything we do that is unhealthy is also probably a way of punishing ourselves as a way of trying to deal with hidden guilt feelings.

This whole thing is incredible. Just from breaking the rules or Law of relationships we have incredible problems!

There is guilt when a rule or Law in a relationship is broken. This in itself is a Law. There is no way we can avoid guilt, whether we feel it or not at the time, when we break a Law in relationship.

Law, Sin and Guilt

In the development of the idea of the Law of relationship we talked about the following subjects:

 

Relationships: relating

 

We want to improve our relationships and our ability to relate to others. Relationships, in fact, are the sum total of the quality of the times that two people relate or communicate with each other. We communicate or relate in different ways: by words, actions, touch, written message, body language, etc. Even though we are not saying words does not mean that we are not relating or communicating with someone. So when we talk about relating and communication in relationships, we mean all of the communication: words, gestures, touch, etc. They are all part of a relationship and the way we relate. Again, relationships are the total of the quality of the times we relate to another person.

 

Law (or rules)

 

When we talk about the quality of relating, we mean how the relating is going. Is it good, or is it bad? And if we can tell (and we all can) if things are going good or bad in the way we are relating, then there must be standards or rules. But as we discussed, rule is not a strong enough word to imply the importance and control that we want to express. A better word is Law, with a capital L.

We talk about The Law of relationship. All of the concepts we will be dealing with are part of the Law of relationship and a Law unto themselves in the sense that they are a part of every relationship in that they will have absolute control or influence. Honesty is an example of a Law of relationship; but behavior that breaks the Law of relationship is called…

 

Sin (mistakes, misbehavior)

 

The Law of relationship that we have been discussing, also known as the Law of life or the Law of discipline is incredibly important. To an infant or a child, their relationship with the parent is life-giving. When this Law of relationship is broken, severe things happen to the child or infant based on the severity of the break. Mistake or misbehavior is not a strong enough word to identity the behavior that breaks the Law. We use the word Sin.

This is what happens when a Law of relationship is broken by Sin.

 

Guilt

 

The feelings involved were discussed. Their implication and relationship to the Law of relationship is best described in the word Guilt. 

We are developing The Law of relationship that looks like the following diagram. The Law of relationship dictates that each concept or Law exists when we discipline or deal with mistake or sin that our children make.

As part of an assignment, fill in the blank boxes below, and use your Bible as a resource or any other text you can find…or your experience.

 

The Law of Relationship, Love, Discipline

The Law of Relationship includes various parts or concepts that are a Law in and of themselves. Each of these parts is important in a total relationship, particularly when you think about the Law of Relationship as the Law of Discipline. If one of these parts or separate laws is missing or not dealt with correctly, then this would be a break in the Law of Relationship.

One of the Laws in the Law of Relationship that must be included when we discipline our children is the Law of Punishment. When we are disciplining and teaching our children and dealing with their misbehavior (Sin), Punishment becomes a critical part of our relating to them. For some people, this is hard to understand with all of the current thought that says, “…never punish your child or they will despise and hate you…”

Some say that a parent should never physically punish their children, and this thought is backed by a great many psychologists, theologians, and sociologists (sociologists are often welfare workers). To these people, punishment means brutality against an innocent child.

Sometimes, these people are correct in their assessment. Some people do punish their children to the extent that this behavior could be called abuse. All we have to do is look down the street or next door to see this kind of punishment going on against children. It is often abuse. This is a tremendous violation of the Law of Relationship.

When we discuss Punishment (capital P), we are describing a different set of ideas and actions than we are normally used to dealing with when we hear or use the word punishment. Punishment that is part of the Law of Relationship is critically important in order to uncover and bring out the Guilt (another part of the Law) in the child or person for breaking the relationship.

When this Guilt is uncovered, then there are sorrowful feelings on the part of the child or person because they feel the implications of their misbehavior. They feel sorry that they offended you. They feel Guilt. It is only then that Forgiveness and Reconciliation become part of the Law. It is only then the person or child being disciplined feels sorry (feels Guilt) and then forgiveness becomes effective for removing the Guilt that the Punishment has uncovered.

Small p punishment is the kind of behavior that many people use thinking that it changes behavior in kids. It doesn’t. Small p punishment is the kind of screaming, hollering, hitting and often more louder forms of behavior that is never followed by Forgiveness and Reconciliation.

This is the kind of punishment that forces a child to become very un-trusting and often outwardly resentful toward the parent. We may be stretching a point, but could we call punishment that is not meant to uncover guilt and is not followed by forgiveness and reconciliation a form of abuse?

The implications of not Punishing, Forgiving, and Reconciling a child or person according to the Law of Relationship is frightening: the child or person is forced to deal with their own guilt, which is impossible. The only thing they can do is try to cover-it-up with all kind of massive stimulation and self-punishing behavior.

 

Understanding Punishment

Punishment that is part of the Law of Relationship is always preceded by Judgment, which is awareness and understanding of the Law, the specific sin that broke the Law, the feelings that are involved and whether they are out in the open or being covered up, and an understanding of you in this whole situation.

The key to Punishment according to the Law of Relationship, is Punishment that is just, punishment that fits the crime, punishment that is not harsh, punishment that does not try to hurt the other person, punishment that is explained and understood to the best of everyone’s ability (and it does not have to be agreed on by the one who is being punished!), punishment that is done out of real love and commitment to the other person that is willing to be there when it is time for Forgiveness and Reconciliation, punishment that is not saved up in the form of resentment and bitterness from past violations of the Law that were never dealt w ith according to the Law of Relationship, etc.

All of this involves Judgment. Judgment is wisdom and understanding.

The Guilt in the child or other person is not often on the surface in the form of sorrow for the mistake or sin, or in the fonn of being sorry. This Guilt is not often seen or heard by us as parents in dealing w ith our children or in dealing with other relationships, but we know that it is there.

What we do see is the child punishing him or herself as a way of trying to deal with or get-rid-of the guilt feelings of fear, anger, terror, sadness, separation, loss, etc.

It is understandable why a child or even an adult would not want to feel those feelings. They are not pleasant. As a matter of fact, they are painful and horrible, and all of us, including children, learn how to avoid feeling them. We learn how to avoid feeling them by subtle forms of punishment that cause the feelings to be covered up by other feelings that are stronger or feel better.
p<>{color:#000;}. Sometimes we tense our muscles against these feelings in order not to feel them. This is the same thing we do when we have a cut or a bad bruise on our skin. We tense ourselves and cause our muscles to strain as way of not feeling the hurt. This kind of tensing as a way of dealing with the death-feelings of guilt is unhealthy. It is also very habit forming. Tension and anxiety are often very subtle ways of punishing ourselves as a way of dealing with or covering up our hidden guilt feelings.

Why are these feelings hidden? These feelings are often hidden because they are covered up. We are in the habit of tensing against them and so used to covering them up that we are no longer aware of what they are or that they are there.

Then how do we know that they are there?

Most often because we become aware of the behavior of punishing ourselves as an incredibly unhealthy thing to do, and then we start trying to figure out why we do those unhealthy things in our lives. We try to understand why we punish ourselves and why other people and our children punish themselves.

Self-punishment is the way we try to cover-up guilt feelings. It is very unhealthy and besides that it doesn’t work as a way of getting rid of guilt. Any behavior that we have that is unhealthy is punishment. That makes sense, doesn’t it? If we are doing something against ourselves that is unhealthy, physically or emotionally, then we can say we are punishing ourselves.

We talked about some of the habits we have that are unhealthy, emotionally or physically, and that can be considered as forms of punishment which are self-inflicted. These vary from cigarette smoking, drinking and drugs, eating too much, punishing our kids, perverted sex, etc.

Some of the most addictive kinds of behavior that are self- punishing ways of dealing with guilt feelings are often behaviors that feel really good.

These massive doses of good feelings do the same thing as self-inflicted pain: they cover up those guilt feelings. But how can you say that ‘good feelings’ are unhealthy? It is not that good feelings are unhealthy. They are only not healthy when we are tricked into trying to get them in order to cover up the feelings of loss, anger, separation, terror, fear, etc. – Guilt.

trying to be on a high of feeling through sex, drugs, meditation, church, relationships, overwork, etc.. is unhealthy. The Law of Relationship dictates that Guilt must be dealt with according to the Law. If we try to deal with it ourselves, we only break the Law and get more Guilt. That is why self-punishing behavior is so addictive. The more you punish yourself, the more you break the Law, the more feeling (good feelings or pain) you need to cover up the increased guilt feelings, the more you punish yourself, the more feeling…, etc. It is an endless cycle for some people throughout their whole lives. And this type of self-punishing behavior causes disease. There are not too many diseases that do not have a high component of resentment, frustration, tension, anxiety, loss, etc., as part of the factor of causing the disease and contributing to the disease itself.

The Law of Sin and Death

This endless cycle of punishment that is Unhealthy and disease causing (both physically and emotionally) is terrifying in and of itself. It is awesome to think of the responsibility that parents have in the law of Relationship with their children. They are responsible, according to the Law of Relationship, to deal with the child’s guilt when there is a break (sin and guilt) in the relationship. If they don’t – if the parent does not deal with the entire Law, which includes Judgment, Punishment, Forgiveness and Reconciliation in dealing with the child’s Guilt – then there is the danger of the child having to deal with the guilt feelings himself, which is the beginning of a possibly endless cycle which we described above. We talked about this cycle that we are all caught up in as the other law. This is the Law of Sin and Death. This is the law that we get caught up in when we deal with our own guilt through self-punishing behavior. This Law of Sin and Death is described in die Bible in die book of Romans, chapter 7.

Why don’t we know when we are caught up in this Law of Sin and Deadi? How come we are not aware of punishing ourselves for guilt? It is almost as if we are out of control in tliis law in term of some of the habits that we find ourselves in, which we know are not healthy. We may even realize diat they are very unhealthy! We may even know that we are feeling guilty and depressed and use this habit to deal with those feelings…but cannot stop that bad habit!

That is why we call this Law (in diat it has absolute control over our behavior) the Law of Sin and Death. The very nature of the feelings of Guilt that are involved (the feelings of death that have to do with the guilt of being separated from a life-giving relationship) force us not to want to feel them; to want to bury them or cover them up; to get them out of our consciousness and awareness. .And how do we do this? Right! We cover them up by punishing ourselves. And eventually the punishing becomes a habit and we lose awareness of why or how we are doing that also… And on and on it goes until our system starts to break down: our emotions and our bodies.

You could describe this whole area of behavior that we are mostly unaware of as the unconscious. We don’t want to be aware of it because of the nature of the feelings that are there. We cover-it-up and push the feelings down in very, often subtle, self-punishing ways of tension and anxiety. The more we deal with Guilt by self-punishment, the more we break the Law of Relationship. This increases Guilt and the need to self-punish more to push these feelings down, out of awareness. The more we do this, the less and less aware we become of why? or how?

We could say that the unconscious grows. It gets bigger and bigger the more we continue to push feelings and behavior out of awareness. Make sense?

Black Hole, The Unconscious

This whole concept of the unconscious we described as being like a Black Hole in the universe. The Law of Sin and Death is just like a Black Hole that draws everything into it. Even light! Beyond the event horizon of a Black Hole, there is no light – nothing! The force inside the event horizon of a black hole that makes everything black and dark can be compared to the force of the Law of Sin and Death in us that is so powerful that it causes everything to be dark and black, and out of the awareness and the light of our conscious and aware mind.

 

This Law’ of Sin and Death, just like the Black Hole, draws every tiling into it because of its power and control over us. What makes this so frightening is that we do not know that this force is inside of us!

‘Why? How can this be so? I don’t feel anything inside of me! If this ‘thing’ were as powerful as you say then I would Feel it!. Wouldn’t I?” Not necessarily.

What we have been talking about is the unconscious part of us – the part that we are not aware of – the part that we cannot feel.

It is just like the Black Hole, we only know that the Law of Sin and Death exists because of what happens on the outside. The whole point is that you can’t know how black, dark, and painful the unconscious of black-hole is inside of us. There is no light or awareness there. It is covered up – pushed and punished out of awareness, because it is too painful to be aware of or feel.

What happens on the outside of us, our behavior, that gives us some idea of the darkness and death on the inside, is the way we continually behave toward others and our environment (house, cars, money, boat, education,’etc. ) as if they were life-giving. It is almost as if the death-feelings on the inside push us to see the outside as life-giving or feeling-like- life. And the way we act towards these things that we think give life, actually help to cover-up the black, death, guilt- feelings that we don’t want to feel in the first place.

This is often true in the relationships with our children and others. We have them in order not to feel the anguish and blackness on the inside of us. We have all seen this in the way people behave toward each other and their children. They act toward others as if the others existed to give them pleasure (or pain) and act in very selfish ways. People often seek and develop relationships that exist for them in order not to feel the blackness and anguish of guilt and death on the inside.

The problem is – the real problem – it is Black – they are blind to their behavior – it is out of their awareness because it is in the Black Hole.

Forgiveness

Why is Forgiveness so important? Here comes an answer that might not make much sense if you have not been a part of our discussions: Forgiveness is a Law. Why is forgiveness so important?… is not really a right question. It is not right because important is not the right word to use to describe Forgiveness. Forgiveness is more than important – it is the law.

“It cannot be avoided. Is that what you are trying to say?”

Avoided, again, is not the right word. It is too mushy. We cannot avoid the type of Law that we are talking about. The kind of Law that we are describing is capital – L – Law. You cannot avoid this Law, because when you do you break the Law and are forced to other parts of the Law, there are consequences that are part of the Law itself. When you try to deal with the Guilt which is part of the Law (the Law of Relationship) yourself, you are in the Law of Sin and Death. Not to forgive is to break the Law of Relationship.

Rather than asking ‘Why?”, we can look at what it is in terms of what it does.

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is action, behavior or words that deal with guilt feelings. When a parent disciplines a child (remember that the Law of Relationship is also called the Law of Discipline and the Law of Love) as a loving parent, the child feels guilt for the misbehavior (sin) and this guilt must be dealt with by the parent. When the child feels the separation that his or her actions caused, they are feeling the guilt that they should feel. If the parent does not Forgive, then the guilt feelings that have been raised to the surface of the child’s awareness by the Punishment (which is part of the Law), will be handled by the child in another way. The child will have to try to deal with these feelings by him or herself. And you know where that leads.The child is forced to cover-up these feelings with all kinds of behavior that can be only described as unhealthy.

When the child feels Guilt as the result of Punishment and Judgment in the Law of Relationship after the child has broken that law, and then is not Forgiven by the parent, the child ends up trying to deal with these guilt and separation feelings in the Law of Sin and Death.

Assignment Read Romans 8, and consider the good news that Paul was talking about after realizing his dilemma with the Law of Sin and Death. Then jump ahead to First John and then read tire entire Gospel of John, lf you have the time. Make note of those places where there are references made to Sin, dark, blind, death, and other teachings that deal with what we are talking about in reference to the Law and the other Law and its blackness.

Also, make a completed diagram of your black hole or unconscious and how it forces you to project into the world onto things and people as life-giving.

Reconciliation

"How can punishing our kids be considered ‘self- punishmenf towards ourselves as parents?” Oftentimes, the way we try to deal with our children, when we punish them, becomes a habit for us. Our kids break the rules or sin and then we try to deal with them. What usually happens is that we feel guilty for not being able to totally deal with their misbehavior, and par t of the way we deal with this guilt is by punishing our kids in such a way that it is also punishing us.

Now, on the surface, no mother would ever say that she punishes her kids in order to deal with her guilt feelings for not following the law of Relationship. She would not normally be aware that she is doing that; she may never be aware that she is doing exactly that. Why? Because this behavior of hers, the behavior of covering-up or punishing herself for her guilt feelings, is out of her awareness. It is part of her unconscious or black-hole. All that she may be aware of is her sense of increasing frustration and anger at not being able to deal with the child correctly (in the Law of Relationship). This increasing frustration and anxiety, we could say, are really attempts at covering-up the guilt feelings for breaking this Law of Relationship in her.

 

 

All of us get caught up in over-reacting with our children. Barbara is a member of another group that shared an incident concerning her daughter that is an excellent example of what happens when we attempt to break out of the habit of anger and frustration in dealing with our children. She shared how she was becoming more and more aware of this behavior as a means of punishing herself and was moving in a direction of Punishment withm the Law of Relationship.

This is Punishment that is preceded by Judgment ( wisdom, understanding of self and the other person, and an awareness of the misbehavior and what it means) and followed up with Forgiveness which is actually talked about; and Reconciliation is next.

This is the kind of Reconciliation that lets everyone involved know that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the relationship is sound and together; strong, again.

 

 

Barbara related the incident of having to discipline her daughter Vicki She shared how Vicki had wanted to stay overnight at a friends on a school night, and after a phone conversation with Barbara where she was told no and the reasons, proceeded to come home with her girl friend to get her clothes to stay over. When Vicki came downstairs and into the kitchen with a bag of clothes, Barbara said,”W here do you think you’re going?”

It was downhill tram there. Barbara related how she was angry with Vicki for three days and could feel herself get into periods of anger and shouting. She finally realized that this anger and shouting was really not according to the Law, and forced herself to sit down with Vicki to talk it out rather than punish herself with frustration, anger and shouting, She really wasn’t punishing Vicki, she was punishing herself tor trying to get rid of those guilt feelings for not having completed the Law of Relationship,

“I didn’t want to sit down with Vick. Something inside me was telling me that it would take too much effort.1 felt tired of the whole thing. ..I actually felt tired., and I didn’t want to sit down with her and do what I knew I had to do...but I did... I knew that doing that would be a better way of dealing with the feelings? (guilt feelings and self- Punishment) than what I was doing .1 did sit down w with her, and it was hard, and it did take alot of effort not to contiiue on in my old way of trying to deal with it.”

Barbara reported that the talk with Vicki did deal with the feelings involved and she completed her responsibility under the Law of Relations hip in this talk by dealing with the issues, or parts of the Law, of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.

 

 

One interesting thing that Barbara talked about was her feeling tired at having to sit down and talk and deal with the Forgiveness and Reconciliation part of the Law. It’s almost as if this new way of doing things makes us tired. It sometimes seems that it would be better if we didn’t have to go through having to deal with all the feelings that are sometimes involved in Forgiving and Reconciling with our children and with others But, consider the alternatives If we do not Forgive and Reconcile (and complete the Law) then we are not dealing with all of the feelings (guilt), as Barbara said, either in ourselves or in the other person, whether the other person is a child, mate, or peer. If we are dealing with our children and don’t deal with all of their feelings of guilt, then they will have to deal with them by themselves. This alternative for children is not healthy because it leads to self-punishing behavior in order to deal with the feelings.

Another alternative is to “forget-the-whole-thing.” Have you ever seen anyone capable of doing that? Some may say that they have forgotten-it, but their behavior usually indicates the opposite: self-punishing behavior or behavior that is punishing you.

There is only one way to be able to forget-the-whole-thing, and that is to complete the Law of Relationship. That is the only way. Any other attempt at trying to deal with the guilt feelings involved is really breaking the Law…which leads to more guilt…which leads to more self-punishing behavior…which leads to strengthening this bad habit…to increasing the unconscious…to a expanding the black-bole… to breaking the Law…etc. Any other attempt at trying to deal with the guilt feelings is really unhealthy. Anything outside he Law of relationship does not deal with the guilt feelings of tension, anxiety, fear, etc.. in us or the other. It only increases them!

That is why we say that any behavior outside the Law of Relationship, or the Law of Life, or Law of Discipline, is under the Law of Sin and Death.

Self-Punishment, the Law of Sin and Death

This is awfully strong language to be using to describe any behavior that is outside the Law of Relationship,” …sin and death,..yuk!” We need to understand that behavior which covers-up guilt is under the Law of sin and Death.

Behavior that covers up guilt, as we discovered, is self-punishing. Behavior that is self-punishing and acts as a cover-up for guilt feelings is unavoidable when we are outside of the Law of Relationship. The only way to deal with these feelings of guilt is through more and more massive doses of anything that can hide, mask or cover-up the feelings of anxiety, separation, and loss. – Guilt – that we have. The more massive the stimulation, the better it works in hiding those feelings of separation or guilt.

Did you ever wonder why some people get addicted to certain things and others do not? These addictive things could be alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling, partying, jogging, smoking, food, etc. All of these things can be abused and used to cover-up guilt feelings. When this happens, they are used to self-punish, and the result usually is that it takes more and more stimulation – food, smoking, drugs, sex, etc. – to keep the cover-up working.

This pattern of behavior or covering-up with the massive doses of whatever, is very addictive, for the same reason that drugs, per se, are addictive – they cover-up pain. It does not make any difference whether the pain is physical or emotional; it is still covering-up. That is why certain drugs are very addictive. They cover-up pain we are aware of and pain we are not aware of. We take a pill to stop some pain in our shoulder, and it feels-so-good. It feels-better than when we were without the pain in the shoulder. Why? Because the drug covers up pam we are not aware of at the same time it covers up the shoulder pain. Some say, “this is great”, and continue to take the drug,

Others eat food in the same way, but are often less conscious of what they are doing. They would never say, I eat to get high. But they would say; “It tastes so good. so, so, good’ This certainly would fit under our category of massive stimulation ane it provides an excellent cover-up for other feelings that are less pleasant than the taste of strawberry cheese cake. It is also very addictive: the behavior – not the cheese cake.

But, self-punishing behavior can be even more subtle than a strawberry cheese cake, but just as addictive and damaging, and outside the Law of Relationship. For example, remember when Barbara said how tired she was when she knew that she had to sit down with Vicki to deal with the guilt feelings involved? Barbara was angry at Vicki for three days (on-and-off), and angry at herself. She was using her angry feelings (even though she might not have known it) to cover-up or punish herself. The way Barbara uses her angry feelings is a very common form of behavior. We all do it! It is a very effective way to try to cover up or punish ourselves for not being able to reconcile ourselves or others in our relationships. It is just the right amount of massive stimulation to push those guilt feelings down: screaming, hollering, tense neck and shoulder muscles, clenched fists, clenched teeth, restricted colon and abdomen, and a lot of noise.

This kind of behavior is very addictive for all of us and it takes effort to break the very addictive habit. You would think that a behavior that is so self-destructive and other destructive would be easy to just stop. Well, it isn’t. You can’t just stop it. Trying to stop yourself and deal with the feelings (guilt) yourself is the very reason why you scream, holler, and get rip- roaring-mad in the first place. Make sense? Of course!

That is why – Barbara got tired. She was changing something that was very important to her. She was changing a habit pattern that she had probably been using for years to cover-up those feelings, and when she stepped-back-into the Law of Relationship with her daughter, she felt some of the guilt feelings that one feels when they move toward Forgiveness and Reconciliation. When you take the behavior away that covers up the guilt feelings, you feel the guilt feelings. In this case, Barbara felt tired, which was probably a combination of guilt feelings and mild depression at having to let-go-of a favorite way of behaving toward those feelings.

Where did this Law of Sin and Death come from? Where did we learn it? It is interesting to note that we learn our values from some of the same places.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Imitation: we imitate parents and others behavior

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Trial and error

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. From God. He told Adam and Eve about it before they sinned and fell into this law.

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Natural man. It is part of our nature to feel guilt feelings and try to cover them up.

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Instinct

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Flesh. It is part of our physical nature to avoid and not want to feel pain.

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Satan. He is the author of this law which most of us die under. He is the father of lies.

 

Society and culture often help us to cover-up these guilt feelings by offering promises of happiness. These promises of happiness are almost a *roadmap* that our culture and society offer as a way not to feel the guilt and anguish that all of us have.

Roadway to Happiness

There are lessons that we have learned from our society and culture as ways to deal with our guilt or death feelings. Society says,’’the way to be ‘happy’ is…”, and we made a list of projections we all learned would someday or somehow make us happy.

 

1. …have a good time…

2….have a party…

3….join the crowd and be in the ‘group’..

4….it’s good to get angry…

5….money will take care of it… get rich,

6….all you need is a car…or two…

7….the most important thing is to be powerful and have influence!

1….when you grow up to be big and strong… etc

2….your health is the most important thing…

3….everything will be OK when you go to school and get a degree…

4….the way to be happy is to go to church…

5….love and sex make the world go round…

6….sexual image

7…. T.V.

8….when you grow up and get married…

9….the most important thing is to own your own home…

10….you won’t feel so bad when you are married and have children…

 

The problem is that these things do not work. They do not cover-up the feelings of separation and guilt that we feel as the result of broken relationships with parents, mates, children, and friends. These promises of happiness that society gives us are not able to deal with the anguish and fear of being separate and alone, from breaks in the Law of Relationship. When we use these promises that society gives to cover up guilt feelings, then this behavior is self- punishing and unhealthy. If we buy the promises, than we are really punishing ourselves and are involved in the Law of Sin and Death

Oftentimes, society and culture teach us to project onto things around us in order not to feel what is going on inside. This is the cover-up we have been talking about.

Whether it is a home, children, two cars, money, clothes, education, or whatever, we are taught or programmed like a computer to get these things and do these things (sex, food, drugs, etc.) to feel better. The favorite advertising slogan of “…feel better fast…” is the essence of the. Law of Sin and Death, and people have been programmed to buy and do anything to feel better fast.

The word Projection means that we are projecting ourselves out on to something outside of us and acting toward it and interacting with it as if that thing were life giving. We behave as if the things around us were giving us life. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? If we are trying to cover up death feelings inside of us, then we are bound to interact with the things outside of us as if they gave life. Part of the cover-up of guilt feelings, then, is interacting or projecting onto the environment and the things around us as if they were life-giving.

The things that we think give life we clutch at; we are terrified and afraid of losing them. These things are very important to us because the way we interact with them helps us not to feel the anguish and guilt. We could say that it is the anguish and guilt that forces us to project onto the things and people around us in the first place.

But what happens when we lose these things that we project onto? What happens when we lose our money, children, husband, and car, or home? Or lose the opportunity for an education? What you are thinking is correct. We feel anguish and terror. Why? Because we interact with these things as if they were life-giving and when we lose them we feel the feelings of death. To the extent that you interact and project onto something as if it were life-giving will be tire extent to which you feel death when that thing which you are projecting onto disappears or there is a threat of it disappearing.

This whole phenomenon of the law of Sin and Death is well acknowledged by insurance companies. They have statistics and studies that back up what we have talked about. They realize that there is an increased chance of death and that people often get very sick when something in their environment disappears (husband, wife, children, homes, jobs, moneys etc.). This is called the “Sudden Death Syndrome.” It is well known that the likelihood of disease and death increases greatly when the things in our environment break down or disappear that we have been projecting onto as life-giving.

We project onto these things as giving us life in order not to feel the anguish and guilt inside of us in the black hole. When these things disappear or there is a threat of their leaving or disappearing then we feel the feelings of death and anguish that these projections have been covering up. For some people, they have projected onto things as so life-giving that they actually do die when the things in their environment break down. This is the Sudden Death Syndrome. It is also the Law of Sin and Death.

Assignment: read about Christ’s passion in the Book of John and pay particular attention to Peter. He is an interesting and incredible man. Actually, he expected some of what we expect in terms of wealth. power and fame. He thought he was going to be a part of a very powerful kingdom that Christ was going to Jerusalem to establish. Most of the disciples, as the Bible tells us, were expecting to be a part of a new kingdom, a new Israel, that would overthrow the Romans, and they were going to be very influential and powerful in this new kingdom. But,

something happened.

The disciples were expecting Christ to fulfill their proiections about what was life-giving (power, influence, armies, strength, etc.) but in actuality, Christ was fulfilling the Law of

Relationship for them, He was fulfilling the Law for them so that they would not be caught up in projections and the Law of Sin and Death any more. He would give them life – real life – not what they expected life was through their projections, but life through the Law of Relationship, the Law of God, the Law of Love. They would soon learn of the power of the parts of the Law that have to do with Forgiveness and Reconciliation.

In addition, complete the assignments that you have not finished up to this point. It is important that you read and understand the analogies that are made in John and First John about “light”, “dark”, and “blind”.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Law of Relationship are critically important in dealing with our children and each other. Forgiveness and Reconciliation are the Law in that they must be followed. But it is easy to see that they would be if we Love our children and each other according to the Law (The Law of Relationship). The thing that keeps us from Forgiving and Reconciling our children when they feel the guilt of their mistakes is our habit of trying to deal with our own guilt by continuing to be angry at them.

As we discussed, it is extremely hard to break out of this bad habit of continuing to be angry at our children and others. Why? Because the anger and the tension and anxiety that results from the anger is just the right massive dose of stimulation that will cover up our feelings of guilt which result from not having confidence in our ability to Forgive and Reconcile.

We don’t Forgive and Reconcile with others and our children because we are drugging ourselves with resentment and anger. We drug ourselves with anger, tension, and bitterness as a self-punishing way to cover-up worse feelings – feelings of death, separation – feelings of Guilt. Where does this guilt come from? It comes from not being forgiven and reconciled ourselves by others, and also this Guilt is the result of our not Forgiving and Reconciling. We don’t complete the Law of Relationship, the Law of Love, because we are caught up in the Law of Sin and Death.

Reconciliation follows Forgiveness and it is any words, actions or other behavior with the other person, adult or child, which lets them know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are part of the relationship again. Forgiveness is aimed at dealing with the sorrow (guilt) of a child or other for breaking tire relationship; it points out the offence and may be as simple as the child demonstrating or saying, I am sorry…, and you saying, I forgive you for…(whatever the misbehavior or sin happened to be), Whereas, Reconciliation is the demonstration on your part that the relationship is re-united – together again – probably even more together and stronger than it was before the break.

It would be stronger and better than before if the Law of Relationship is followed. Why? Because the child or other person is learning about the Law of Relationship with you!

They are also learning to love and trust you more! They are learning that when you discipline them in the Law of Relationship and Love, you are dealing with their feelings of death and Guilt that they cannot deal with themselves. They are learning to trust you more and more, and love you more and more each time you effectively discipline them.

As we discussed, when they are loved according to the law of Relationship, children begin to obey and trust your Relationship with them. They obey because they love you more and more because you love them completely according to the Law.

Small children will learn to come to you and say, “Mommy, I just broke the lamp, and I feel bad.” Do you know why? It is because they trust you to be able to deal with their sorrow or guilt and to take away those anxious feelings… through the Law, using Judgment Punishment Forgiveness and Reconciliation. They will more than likely not grow up breaking lamps because they are angry at you and frustrated because you have not disciplined them or dealt with their guilt feelings.

Older children and teens will trust your counsel and ask for your advice and want to talk to you about things that are of concern and a bother to them. Why? Because you know the

Law…you have the power of the law to forgive, to reconcile…to heal. They know you love them.

We discussed how God reconciled us through the Law of Relationship. He did this through Jesus. He created the law and he fulfilled the Law in Christ. If we are in Him, we are in the Law of Life and striving to show our love for Him, as our children do to us, by obeying the Law.

The following parables are excellent demonstrations of the principles of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, and they show the importance of following both the Law of Reconciliation and all of its principles (which include Forgiveness and Reconciliation) in searching-out and seeking our children and others in dealing with their guilt and reconciling them to us (and/or God).

As you read the following parables, keep the concepts and ideas in mind that we have discussed. All of these parables can and do relate to our responsibility, under the Law of Relationship, to love, discipline, and seek-out our children (and each other) when they have broken or sinned in their relationship with us and with God.

 

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins (in the Greek, ten drachmas, each worth about a day’s wages) and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

 

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them.

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

Bat while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son. threw his arms around him and kissed him.

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ’

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brothei- has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound. ’

The older brother became angry and refused to go in.

So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your properly’with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him! ’

‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and every-thing I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. (Luke 15, New International Version of the Holy Bible)

 

Dead and is alive again; lost and is found. That is reason for celebration! It is a time for joyful tears when you Reconcile your child or another and feel the power of this kind of love: the kind of love and discipline that goes after, searches carefully, celebrates and is glad at having found that person and made them alive again with you.

The Law of Relationship makes alive. When you reconcile your child or another person in relationship to you, you lead them out of The Law of Sin and Death and the unhealthy way in which they try to deal with their guilt feelings, by punishing and covering-up. You teach and draw them into the Law of Life and open the potential for then to learn and grow and come to truly worship the One who made the Law that we could have life.

About the Author

Brian Warner is a retired pastor, and started the Seacoast Vineyard Christian Fellowship as part of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of churches. Prior to this he spent a career in business and industry as an organizational development, management and executive development consultant. His last position prior to starting his own consulting firm was with Wang Computers as Director of Organizational, Executive and Management Development.

His early graduate training and education was in the area of Gestalt Psychotherapy and Organizational Development, and then managed a private practice as a Gestalt Psychotherapist.

Other books by this author

 

 

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Johanna’s Eleven

 

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Christian Discipline and Effective Christian Parenting

In 1978, I received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, to develop and implement a training program in southeastern Massachusetts, utilizing small church groups. This program would train participants to understand the effect of family relationships, both good and bad, and their influence on the use and abuse of drugs. The purpose of these groups, after training, would be to continue to meet within their church organizations, and act as a support group for families in crisis. Six groups were developed and trained in a variety of church locations and denominations, and included Catholic, Presbyterian and Baptist groups in Brockton, MA, Seekonk, MA, Fall River, MA, Taunton, MA, and Cape Cod. Each group was tested before and after the training in a variety of areas and subjects in regard to relationships and their influence on behavior. Each group showed significant growth in understanding and behavior through the use of this pre and post testing method. Three out of the six groups continued to meet and provide support services to their local church, after the completion of the training. The final report was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, and was rejected because of the spiritual overtones and language of the program, even though they agreed the program was completely successful. this book is a compilation of the notes from each session that were mailed to each participant weekly during the eight week training program.

  • Author: Brian Warner
  • Published: 2015-11-09 03:05:13
  • Words: 14339
Christian Discipline and Effective Christian Parenting Christian Discipline and Effective Christian Parenting