Therapist and mother Lori Gottlieb says that parents who are obsessed with their children’s happiness may actually contribute to their becoming unhappy adults. These parents coddle their children, do not equip them to deal with the real world, look the other way when their children do wrong, and neglect disciplining them.
In 1 Samuel, we read that the high priest Eli sometimes looked the other way. We don’t know what he was like as a father when his boys were young. But he failed to properly deal with their behavior as grown men serving in God’s temple. They were selfish, lustful, and rebellious, putting their own needs ahead of God’s Word and the needs of the people. At first, Eli rebuked them but they would not listen. Instead of removing them from service, he looked the other way and let them continue in their sin. As a result of his sons’ sins and because Eli honored his sons above the Lord (1 Sam. 2:29), the Lord warned Eli that his family would suffer judgment (v.34; 4:17-18).
As Christian parents, we have the awesome responsibility to lovingly discipline our children (Prov. 13:24; 29:17; Heb. 12:9-11). As we impart God’s wisdom to them, we have the blessing of helping them develop into responsible, God-fearing adults.
Failure to discipline our children is a failure to love them.