By Robert Wayne La Coste
Some of you probably watched the television show 20-20 not long ago that called into question the use of corporal punishment for children. I watched with amazement. My amazement was only beginning! Immediately after this production, the local news did a feature story also on physical punishment that called such practice into question. “Physical violence only begets physical violence,” they said. There were other “pearls of wisdom” such as “Being physical with a child creates a disdain for those older and bigger.” Then there was “How do we teach children violence is wrong when we exhibit such?” By this time I could only shake my head. When the host of the show was asked, “Does this mean the Bible is wrong?” The response was, “according to the experts, the Bible is wrong.”
Dear reader, that can be equated with stating that our Creator who made us and knows us stated an untruth or lied (something impossible for God to do – Heb. 6:17)! God however s the expert. He is the expert in all things.
God has commanded the following: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him ” (Prov. 13:24). “Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Prov. 19:18). “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15). “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Prov. 23:13).
Men however think they are wiser than Almighty God. They would use little or no discipline at all and certainly not any physical punishment when it comes to correcting children. Certainly as godly parents we are not talking about abuse, but today if you say you beat your child (using the word Solomon did) you may well be reported for abuse! I learned while preaching in Canada recently, they have outlawed any form of corporal punishment. You paddle or take a switch or belt to your child there and you will be fined or imprisoned or both! Our country is not far behind! When the time does come when it is against man’s laws to use corporal punishment, we must stand and say with the apostle Peter, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
What do these people mean when they use the word “violence”? When a child misbehaves or disobeys that’s not violence, no more than it is violence to correct such. See how evil works though? Convince someone that corporal punishment is violent and you make the punishing parent look like a beast.
What do we have in our society as a result of following this “Dr. Spock mentality”? We have the prisons and reform schools filled to the brim with young people who grew up being allowed to do whatever they desired and whenever they desired to do it. Worse, the cemeteries are also full. They are filled with the bodies of youngsters who were never taught to respect authority -young people who never had parents who said “no” and if necessary who reinforced their word with “Solomon’s rod” of chastisement.
God said that a man who spares the rod of chastisement hates his son. Looks like a lot of folks hate their children.
Admittedly, there were times when I thought my dad was going to “love me to death.” When administering the punishment, he would always tell us how he regretted he had to do it. I didn’t believe him then. Now I do! For now I find the same regret present when I must spank my children. It didn’t take us boys long though to realize that his word was law and he was ready to back it up with a 38. A 38 inch belt that is! By way of this belt, this gentle man stood ready to impress upon us the folly of disobedience, when words failed. Parents, when words fail, listen to God’s words, not the “experts.”
Our God, who is our heavenly parent chastens us who are his children. Why does he do it? “. . . for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Heb. 12:10).
Proper discipline, yes even physical discipline will always “bring forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11).
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 24, p. 749
December 17, 1992