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God's Plan for the Family: Corporal Punishment and the Training of Children
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“God’s Plan for the Family – Corporal Punishment and

the Training of Children”

 


The God of nature has designed that parents be the chief protectors, educators, and
trainers of their children.  Humans are born with a clean slate, so to speak, morally and intellectually.  It is the responsibility of the parent to train the child in the way that they should go: not only to educate them in the ways of God, but to train and discipline them into compliance.  Certainly, godly parenting and training cannot assure that children will completely abstain from sin, otherwise Adam would never have sinned, God being the ideal parent.  But the Scriptures are clear that parental teaching and training is the primary means of educating and assuring compliance with God’s ways.  Parents – not the federal government, not television, not the church, not the priests of atheistic relative morality in government schools – but parents are the God-ordained chief care-givers of children.


Many Christians are fearful of defending what God’s Word says about corporal punishment for fear of the wrath of the H.R.S.  But the faithful will never compromise the truth of the Scriptures for fear of man.  On the contrary, outlawing the bold proclamation of a particular divine truth should invite saints to proclaim that truth with all the more courage and authority, as that is the point of contention where God’s authority is being challenged, the front-lines of battle, so to speak.  The federal government feigns compassion as its motive for giving so much power to the HRS to kidnap children out of the home, but their hypocrisy is exposed when we consider legalized child-killing.  Forty-four million children have been slaughtered under the direction of the government since Roe vs. Wade in 1973.  The government doesn’t care about kids – don’t be fooled by the rhetoric!  Although child abuse is an egregious crime in our society, all physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children pales by comparison to the Abortion Holocaust.

 


A Child Unspanked Is a Child Unloved

 

In spite of rampant abortion-on-demand and the epidemic of physical and sexual abuse of children in our society, I am convinced that not spanking children is the most common form of child abuse in our society, causing social devastation on a massive scale.  The Scripture plainly says that parents should correct improper behavior with physical coercion.  We should not fear the HRS more than we fear God, and when God and man contradict, let God be true and every man a liar.  God’s Word is unambiguous:


“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with a rod
(a paddle), he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with a rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:14)

“The rod and reproof giveth wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15)

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18)

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (many times).” (Proverbs 13:24)


Not spanking your child is equated with hatred for your child!  Loving your child through consistent corporal punishment “delivers his soul from hell.”  That’s very strong language!


“But doctor, I would never hit my child because I love him soooo much!”  You wouldn’t believe how many times I have heard that from a parent requesting that their child be chemically

 

restrained with psychiatric medication for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”.  But when a child’s mother and God Almighty contradict each other, who’s right?  We would instantly and naturally affirm that a man who sexually molests his child or breaks his child’s bones in anger hates his child, but the Scripture also states that those who do not exercise corporal punishment in the discipline of their children hate them.  God is the standard of love, and according to the Scriptures, He lovingly chastens His children.  Parents who do not discipline their children when they are rebellious are unlike God – that is, they are ungodly.  Ungodliness is incompatible with faith in Christ (James 2:10-26).  If you don’t practice corporal discipline with your children, you do not love them, and hence, do not love God, because “he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I John 3:20).

One of the things I appreciate most about my father was his willingness to lovingly employ corporal punishment to correct misbehavior.  I had a terrible temper as a child, and when I was twelve years of age, after being sent to my room after a loud argument with one of my four brothers, I began to throw a temper tantrum!  I punched the wall, screamed, threw things…  My father came in with his belt in hand, calmly instructing me to get control of myself.  He gave me five whippings on my rear end with his belt, and then told me that if I didn’t stop crying within five minutes, he would come back and do it again!  Every five minutes for the next thirty the ritual continued.  I would commence my temper tantrum and loud crying and he would re-enter, give me five whippings, then, calmly and patiently, he would warn me once again.  After the last whipping, I collapsed and wept – not out of pain, but in submission.  He had broken my will – that was a very good thing for me.  He had broken my rebellious will but won my spirit!  The temper tantrums stopped on that day.  I hardly ever needed a spanking after that for the rest of my life.  I learned to honor, respect, and obey my father.  He was the boss.  The times of corporal punishment were miniscule by comparison to all of the fun times and encouraging words I received from him, yet he loved me enough to resort to corporal discipline to mold my character.  I feared his disapproval more than his belt, and I learned to trust his love and wisdom more as I grew older.  Although I did not like the spankings when I was a child, I love my father for it now.  If you spank your disobedient child’s bottom with a paddle or a belt now, he will love you for it later in life. 

Many of you perhaps have a child who was much like I was as a rebellious twelve year old: a rebellious, uncontrollable, ungrateful, disobedient hellbound brat that you just don’t like being around.  Or, does your fourteen-year-old disrespect you, yell at you, disobey your commands?  Does your six-year-old hit you, thrown temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, embarrass you in public?  Do your children hate being around you, and you them?  All this can change.  You can’t rise above your faith, so you need to believe it can change before it ever will.  With God’s help, these things can change!  Not primarily through your child’s behavior changing, but through yours!  You need to change.  You need to repent, and obey God’s Word regarding the training of your child.  You must employ loving, consistent discipline and corporal punishment in the training of your child.  Childhood rebellion is not just a phase, it’s not just a temporary aberrance, it’s disorderly, and it’s only going to get worse the older they get if you reject the instructions of God’s Word.  If you do not exercise corporal punishment, then the Scripture says that you don’t love your child and rather than be an impediment to him going to hell, you’re showing him the way.  The change must start with you. 

How does corporal punishment influence children to voluntarily submit to Christ later in life?  What keeps sinners from the Lord is sin (Isaiah 59:1-2).  Our sins separate us from God.  Sin is a transgression of His commandments (I John 3:4).  Sin is gratifying our natural, God-given appetites outside of God’s will, contrary to His law.  All of our appetites, whether for food, sex, friends, comfort, wealth – all of these can be fulfilled within the will of God.  It is when we seek to gratify these desires contrary to God’s will that we break our fellowship with a holy God and become alienated from Him. 


Parents play a critical role in training children to keep their appetites under submission to their mind and will, instead of the other way around.  Through corporal punishment and training, parents should teach their children to subject themselves to authority, to be cheerful and thankful.  The child who has learned to master his appetites out of both fear of the parents’ rod and out of love for the parents’ favor will have much less troubles in the flesh when the Spirit calls him to repentance and faith in Christ.  This is how corporal punishment by loving parents “delivers the soul from hell.” 


The role of parents is God-ordained and inalienable, and this role cannot be undermined by a democratic consensus, human legislators, liberal judges, or government agencies any more than they can throw God off His throne and make evil good and good evil.  God is the arbiter of right and wrong and His Word is true.  God designed that humans are born with an undeveloped conscience incapable of sin or righteousness, which are voluntary acts.  God designed that, from infancy, we naturally take the path of least resistance that provides the greatest amount of pleasure to appetites.  And He designed parents to be the teachers and disciplinarians that will temper the gratification of these appetites with moral law, to assure that the path of least resistance is the path that’s best for their kids.  Unlike adolescents and adults, who can be reasoned with and intellectually persuaded to conform to the moral law, children require behavior modification through corporal punishment.  God has designed it that way. 


When your children enter puberty, a whole new world of desire opens up to them.  They face new temptations and overwhelming peer pressure to conform to the celebrated evils around them.  It is so very important to these youth that they have a respect for parental authority, rules, and discipline.  Their emotional stability and social security are dependent upon firm discipline in the home.  Even at this age, youth will take the path of least resistance.  Teenagers must be confident that the sanction for breaking parental rules is greater than any temporal benefit there can be for transgressing them.  They need to know that their parents love them enough to make rules that are in their best interests and that they have the fortitude to enforce those rules.  Teenagers must be a healthy fear of displeasing Mom and Dad, and without this, they are handicapped at resisting the temptations, the peer pressure, and the delicious candy-coated poison that the devil is offering them.  In the loving environment of a Christian family, consistent, firm corporal discipline is more important to the healthy development of your child than nutritious food. 


As the child matures, non-corporal forms of discipline may be more efficacious at securing submission, but all means are at the parents’ disposal to train up the child in the way that he should go.  Spanking should never replace instruction and education.  The child needs to be thoroughly instructed why the misbehavior was wrong, to maximize the child’s benefit and lessen the need for future spankings. 


It must be remembered that no discipline or punishment will be effective at securing obedience, especially with teenagers, if it is not within the context of a loving relationship.  Your child must be convinced that you love them, that you are treating them as you would want to be treated if you were in there shoes.  This one of the reasons why you shouldn’t spank your children while angry.  Now, God gets angry too (Mark 3:5), and so anger is not necessarily sin.  The Bible says “Be angry, and sin not”.  But if your child has caused you disappointment and you are naturally angry, you need to send the child to his room until you calm down.  Spanking should be done calmly and methodically, without anger, shouting, yelling, or uncontrolled swings.  “Wrath” is one of the sins listed in Galatians 5:19-21, which can prevent one from inheriting God’s kingdom, so the natural, involuntary anger we feel when our child has disappointed us must be controlled by God’s Spirit lest it progress to the voluntary anger that is sinful.

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