Continuing to lay the background for whys of biblical parenting, Pastor Tripp moves away from the shaping influences of childhood to the core issue - what Tripp calls “Godward Orientation.” Proverbs 9:7-10 states the following:
7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.According to Tripp, whatever the shaping influences of life may be, it is the “Godward Orientation” of the child that determines his response to those shaping influences. What finally determines whether a child responds as a mocker or a wise man? It is the fear of the Lord that makes one wise and it is that wisdom that determines how he responds to the correction.
Contrary to the pop psychology of the day, children are never morally neutral. Tripp argues that everyone is essentially religious: they either worship God or they worship idols. Remember Romans 1:18-19?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.According to Paul, your children either respond to God by faith or they suppress the truth for their own sin.
If they respond to God by faith, they find fulfillment in knowing and serving God. If they suppress the truth in unrighteousness, they will ultimately worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator.Tripp notes that a young child may not be conscious of his religious commitment, but he is never neutral. Because all mankind is made in the image of God, children are designed with a worship orientation. They are either worshipping God or idols. It is important to realize that all of us, including our own children, are born wayward and sinful. One justification for spanking children is the nature of their hearts. “The remedy is not solely changing the structure of the home; it is addressing the heart.” The practical implications of this truth are that parents can never assume that selfishness is just a result of immaturity. Rebellion is not outgrown.
It is this biblical assumption that directs parental discipline and training of the children. “In all of this you must pray that God will work in and around your efforts and the responses of your children to make them people who know and honor God.”