Building discipline in children is a biblical concept. I’m not convinced that whipping and paddling is part of that biblical concept.
I know corporal punishment is a long-practiced, Southern tradition. And I know many parents point to the book of Proverbs and the scripture that says “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him. ...(King James version)” Or in more common language they say “spare the rod and spoil the child.”
I’ve often wanted to ask: Where in the Bible did Jesus hit a child with a rod?
Of course, Proverbs was written mostly by Solomon. And Solomon, though wise, was not perfect. I’ve also wondered how many children Solomon hit with a rod.
As Christians, we admire Solomon’s wisdom because it seems to supplement what Jesus taught. Solomon’s words neatly fit with Ephesians 6, which says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth”
However, the next sentence seems to get ignored.
That sentence says: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurturance and admonition of the Lord.”
Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary explains the verse this way: “The great duty of children is to obey their parents. That obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts The duty of parents ... Be not impatient; use no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with children; convince their judgments and work with their reason. Bring them up well; under proper, compassionate correction and in the knowledge of the duty God requires.”
Whippings have been a popular topic because of NFL running back Adrian Peterson, and the incident with his son. I’m not judging him or his act.
I have a daughter who I love. I’m not a perfect parent and she’s not a perfect kid. I’m trying to raise her to understand Christian tenets. That goal guides my behavior and leads me to look beyond my own ego – “Do what I say because you’re my child, this is my house and I make the rules.”
When ego dominates, God’s tenets are diminished.
I absolutely believe in the Ten Commandments. And there’s one that Christians can’t deny.
Matthew the 22nd chapter says “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I’m convinced that commandment includes children.
I’ve heard the rationalization that “I was spanked and I turned out alright.” That argument can be convincing, depending on who’s saying it.
I am more convinced, based on my readings, that in the Bible a rod has been a tool of protection and guidance. So maybe Solomon’s wisdom was in his instruction that we guide and protect – like Jesus did.
Raising a child isn’t easy.
You confront anger, frustration, disappointment and other self-centered emotions. And, if you’re a Christian, you try to listen to God.
Then you must decide: Is he telling you to hit your child? Or, is he telling you to offer guidance – like Jesus.