Judge by the Fruit
Mr. Schwarz was an older school director who came from time to time to visit our class. He had retired, and the news of the conflict that we trained our children at home had reached his ears. So one morning he arrived with his little car in front of our house. He just asked humbly if he could be there and listen to our children being taught. It was a time when we were going through many legal difficulties over the education of our children.
This old man was a teacher with all his heart, obviously caring for our little ones. Sometimes he would ask if he could tell the children something from his past — things he had experienced and what he had learned.
He was a man who had honored his parents and had learned to ask them for wisdom. When he was seventeen he had to go to the army. You could tell that his disciplined upbringing caused him to be protected in the last days of World War II.
Our children loved and respected him as he told them how it was in the days when he was teaching. We developed a loving relationship with him.
One morning I was talking with him and he drew me to the side. He was a man who had seventy-four children to teach in his first class! That was after the war when there were few men teachers. Anyway, he said to me, “Your children are so respectful. I instinctively know that there is only one way that they could be that way. You must discipline them.”
I stood in wonder that he understood what many of us didn’t have any understanding about when we were growing up.
The Obvious Fruit Observed
Government officials, social workers, and teachers have observed and spoken to our children, and they have all commended them. They have tested their progress for the past ten years more often than any other school in Germany. This is the objective truth. They have witnessed their behavior and seen their willingness to learn.
They often commented on their respectful behavior. They could see that our children could freely express themselves and expound on a subject with zeal. They witnessed the good fruit in their lives. Some of our children have already reached adulthood and have become assisting teachers. The government officials could witness that they had reached a potential that was the envy of the public school authorities.
The official workers of the German government have observed our children’s lives from infancy to adulthood. No school was ever so closely monitored in the whole German nation, none so frequented, and none more thoroughly tested by the government than our school.
The God on the Bookshelf
Do we all serve the same God? You can find him on the bookshelf; there He has a great name. You can find His name in important writings such as the German constitution. Did you notice it there?
Conscious of their responsibility before God and Men, animated by the resolve to serve world peace as an equal partner in a united Europe, the German people have adopted, by virtue of their constituent power, this Basic Law. [Preamble to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany]
Oh, for the writers it was so important that we have a responsibility to God! Saying these words affirms that God has delegated His authority to us. But what do we hold as true of the words God has spoken in the Bible? That is the question we must ask of our fellow German citizens and officials. Do we believe Proverbs 13:24, that if you don’t discipline your child, then you hate him?
“Is this really true?” asks the wisdom of this world. “For sure not,” answer the scholars of this age.
Do we respect and obey His word, or do we just put Him back on the shelf? “This is old and dusty,” we might say like so many others, “Let it stay on the shelf.”
But what do we think about what it says in the New Testament, in Hebrews 12:7-8? “God deals with you as sons... What son is there whom a father does not discipline? Furthermore, we have all had human fathers who spanked us, and we paid them respect...”
How wonderful it would be if you could confess from your own heart, “I can see that God has never changed. Clearly, His mind about training children has never changed.”
His name is YHWH, which means “I am who I am.”
We should take the question to heart: “Do we respect His word?” Or perhaps we must ask ourselves, “Why don’t my children respect my word?’”