Thursday 6, 2016
Most of us who are older than 65 can remember getting a “spanking” when we were young. Does anyone remember your parents telling you to cut your own switch “and it better not break until I’m finished”? Ah, those were the days.
Which one did you dread more, 1) a spanking, or 2) “the talk”? Personally, I figured a spanking would not last as long as “the talk.” I cut switches! Did I need those spankings? They were just part of growing up. Solomon stated,
“Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won’t kill them. A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death.” (Proverbs 23:13-14 The Message).
I’ve had my mother make this comment about me, “I could pinch his head off.” Solomon never worded it like that. However, Proverbs 19:18 is interesting as translated in the following versions.
“Discipline your son in his early years while there is hope. If you don’t you will ruin his life.” (TLB).
“Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them.” (The Message. Also see the NKJV rendering).
“Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death.” (NASV).
“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (KJV).
Training includes discipline. Discipline may include punishment. That discipline is a deterrent to stay on the good side of the law, the teacher, and mom and dad! No rules often lead to sad consequences.
Solomon continues with these tidbits:
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1 NASV).
“A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them.” (Proverbs 13:24 The Message).
“A youngster’s heart is filled with rebellion, but punishment will drive it out of him.” (Proverbs 22:15 TLB).
“Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.” (Proverbs 29:15 The Message).
Probably the most misunderstood passage on this subject is Proverbs 22:6:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (KJV).
Some believe that passage states the following:
If your child leaves home and abandons the Lord, that means you did not train him as you should have. If he becomes a delinquent, it is because you as a parent were one.
This view fails to recognize that a child, when he becomes an adult, is no longer under the control of the parent. Everyone is a sinner. Everyone has his weakness and those can become his desires. He decided that, not the parent. Does he know he is going contrary to what he was taught? Certainly. He isn’t a dummy.
If Solomon’s statement is true for Christian parents, wouldn’t the principle also apply to parents who are atheists? Yet, in spite of that training, the child abandons it and follows Jesus. Was his conversion a failure on the part of the parents to teach him properly, or was it due to the individual making that decision in spite of that early training?
That view fails to recognize that Solomon is giving wise statements that are general in nature. One may have four children and train each the same way. Yet three of the four may reject that training as adults. The three have a foundation to return to but having such a foundation does not guarantee their return. If so, a person raised by atheistic parents would in his old age deny Jesus and return to atheism! Children are not zombies. They make decisions just like parents did when they were growing up. Jesus didn’t tell his audience to go home and ask mamma and daddy if it would be OK to follow him. They made that decision even if their parents didn’t raise them to obey a carpenter from Nazareth!