Parental Discipline; October 11, 2022

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death.

Talk about politically incorrect Biblical truth! In some places, parents have had their children taken away from them by the government because they spanked them! This is a major technique of the devil in his destruction of society. Lack of respect for parents is horribly corrosive and is a direct violation of the 10 Commandments. The 5th of those, “Honor your father and mother,” (Exodus 20:12) is actually quoted by Paul. (Ephesians 6:2) Dennis Prager, on his long-running radio show, has surveyed people, especially in California, who did NOT do drugs as young people, asking them why not. The almost universal answer was, “My mother would have killed me!” When parents set standards for their children and hold them to those standards, society flourishes. When parental discipline, and even parental presence, fades, society collapses. Of course genuine abuse is to be avoided, but few things are as instructive as physical pain. As this passage says, physical pain can save a person from spiritual destruction. That’s a major reason why God allows it in our lives. Pain is an essential survival mechanism on many levels, and we should be grateful for it.

This is an awkward thing for me to write on at this point, when my wife has had to deal with so much physical pain because of her back. I’m not at all saying that God is punishing her for something! It is true, however, that the pain itself won’t kill her, and like all things temporal, it won’t last. We must have done some things right in raising our daughters, because I am able to use our younger daughter’s interaction with her children as a good example when I am counseling couples about parenting. Her older son was an irrepressibly happy child, and I observed the secret to that about three days after I first got to meet him. Since they live in the US and we live in Japan, he was 14 months old when we were first able to visit, and my strong first impression was that he was always happy and never cried. On the third day of our visit my wife and I were playing with him on the floor of the living room, and he reached under the gas fireplace to play with the controls. His mother noticed and gave him a strong “NO.” At that he jerked back and turned from the fireplace with a very sheepish look on his face. He had been corrected for that before! His mother then asked my wife (her mother) to slap his hand for her. Hearing that, at 14 months, he extended one hand and then slapped it with the other, on his own! It was the cutest thing, but it showed the reason for his sunny disposition: receiving appropriate and consistent discipline, he was totally secure in his parents’ love. He’s a strapping teenager now, but I have few worries for his future. If more parents would take the Bible to heart and apply appropriate discipline to their children, those children would be far happier and the world would be a far better place. I don’t remember very many spankings myself, but I’m sure I got far more than I remember. I’m very grateful for the discipline my parents applied to me.

Father, this is a difficult subject for many, because the devil has confused us with his lies. I pray that Your truth would indeed set people free to live the good lives You have planned for them, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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