Scripture Reading: Isaiah 20:1-23:18 / 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 / Proverbs 22:7-16
When I went to school…our elementary school principal had a large paddle in his office. I don’t know how often he used it and I did not want to personally find out! Times have changed since then and discipline has as well. Corporal punishment in school has faded and parents are divided on this issue. To spank or not to spank…that is the question.
Psychologists have discouraged spanking yet God’s Word gives a different perspective on this issue. Proverbs says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15) You will also find numerous scriptures throughout the Bible that support some form of physical consequences for unruly and rebellious actions.
All of humanity is born with a sinful and rebellious nature…no one is exempt. The word for “folly” refers to sin because sin is deceptive, destructive and foolish. Children will battle with their sin and parents are responsible to enlighten them of and protect them from the power of sin.
As God disciplines those that He loves (Rev.3:19,20), love is the underlying motivation for parents when it comes to disciplining children. The purpose for correction is to motivate children to live right and have healthy and meaningful relationships. The desire is for their children to live in harmony with parents, family, others and especially God.
Being able to distinguish between normal childhood ways and rebellious actions is critical. It is “childlike” to be loud when they play or wear their muddy shoes in the house. Those things need to be addressed but they are not rebellious issues. Folly issues such as disobedience, lying, stealing, etc. need Proverbs 22:15 attention.
Childhood discipline is not so much about punishment but about correction and dealing with the consequences of sinful actions. Disciplining children is to lead to change and repentance, not despair. If the “rod” is used exclusively, Godly correction will not be accomplished. There must also be the establishment and enforcement of parental authority, rules, verbal warnings and levels of grace.
God has modeled the proper way of discipline…graciously forgiving, mercifully correcting and sovereignly allowing us to experience the consequences of our sin for the purpose of deliverance, repentance and restoration. God uses a wooden cross and the conviction of The Holy Spirit to drive sin far from us…He also uses wooden spoons and anoints parents to drive the foolishness of sin far from children’s hearts!