When visiting a person with dementia, I was chastised for not treating her the same way I treated the phantom people in the room. I just listened to her, knowing the disease was talking for her. But when she said, “Didn’t your mother teach you better than that?” I realized she still understood a parent’s need to teach a child to be fair.
Eli had two sons, and for whatever reason, he failed to gain control over them. They were “a bad lot” who refused to obey God and yet assisted Eli in the temple with the offerings. They had no respect for the sacrifices people brought to the temple and took advantage of women serving there.
When Eli heard complaints about his son’s behavior, he warned them that when they sin against another person, there’s help from God, but when they sin against God, they are doomed. God punished Eli for failing to discipline his son by putting he and his family to death. On the other hand, under Eli’s care, Samuel, who was raised by Eli, was an obedient child and grew up to be a prophet and judge. Ironically, he had two unruly sons, also.
Raising children isn’t for the weak in spirit. When parents and mentors discipline their children, everyone will be happier.
Lord, help us accept discipline for our own good. Amen.