Corporal punishment of children is not considered to be an enlightened way of disciplining children. Actually, it is in direct opposition to the majority of the theories of psychology and ways to change behavior. But God does, in fact, include it as part of His program of parenting skills that can lead a child to maturity. Parents who choose not to use this form of discipline do not demonstrate that they possess a “higher degree” of parenting skills or that they love their children more than other parents. In essence, according to God’s program of child-rearing, they do not love their children as much as those who “use a rod.”
The words “hate” and “love” in this verse are not to be seen as comparing love and hate in an emotional sense. In other words, to withhold a spanking is not a sign that “I love my child more than you do yours.” It could be a sign that “I am willing to sacrifice my child’s future well-being because I want him to like me,” or “I would rather have the approval of society than God,” or “I know of other children who were spanked and they did not end up so good.” We must always be cautious about whose approval we are seeking: our child’s, man’s or God’s.
Disciplining children is painful - especially corporal discipline which is clear from this passage of Scripture. But if the discipline is associated with breaking the teachings of God’s laws - lying, stealing, and being disrespectful of others - then it is appropriate. Children must be informed that “If you lie to me, then you will be spanked” is in keeping with God’s laws. Discipline is to bring conformity to God’s ways.
Prayer: Father, help us to discipline our children with love and respect when they disregard Your laws and willingly choose evil. But first, let us be their example. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 13:24 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.