Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” NKJV
Proverbs 29:15 – “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” NKJV
Growing up I was disciplined with the belt or paddle and spanked my children. Today my parents and I would be in danger of having our children taken from us and possibly charged with child abuse for following a biblical guideline. In Proverbs 13 and 23 we read the directive to use the ‘rod’ in discipline and correction as a demonstration of love not hate or abuse. In fact in Proverbs 22:15 we find, “Folly is bound up in the heart of the child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”
Let me say that I never want to see an adult beating a child or even disciplining them when out of control in anger. Yet, I also do not want to hear or see children being disrespectful, talking back and being out of control with no discipline. Early in a child’s life there is need to shape that child’s will so they become disciplined and productive members of society. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:4 warned fathers not to provoke their children to anger, but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. It is one thing to have a child become angry over correction and another to antagonize needlessly and provokingly.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:6, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” If God disciplines us out of love how could we view failure to discipline our children as demonstrations of love? Every child and person is different and respond to different stimuli requiring the parent to be careful to observe the nature and personality of that child. A good parent or leader becomes a student of those they are responsible for seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to apply the ‘rod of discipline’ appropriately and in the right measure.
You may not believe in spanking your children and that is your decision but if you fail to discipline the child you are doing him/her no favor. I would ten thousand times rather to be disciplined if it staves off ultimate destruction than the alternative. I’ve been told by parents that they could not discipline their children because if they did the child would not like them. Parents while it is wonderful to have your child like you but you have a responsibility to ‘train’ that child to live in a society that demands discipline and restraint. If you fail to prepare the child for that the child liking you is of little consequence.
God disciplines His children and instructs us to discipline those we are responsible for. By the time society becomes involved in the process it becomes punishment not discipline. Discipline has at its heart the objective of salvation and preservation. Punishment does not always have that goal in view it is payment or penalty enacted with possibly no other objective.
We should all be merciful, loving, kind and gentle but we should also know how to mete out what can only be called ‘tough love’ and take the difficult road of administering discipline for in doing so we mold and shape lives positively equipping them for societal interaction.
May God be with you as you go through your day!