"Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." Proverbs 13:24
Well hello there my little blog! It's been a crazy couple of weeks here, where a vast majority of my blogging time has been sucked away from me. It's also been a time of reflection for me, and I was wondering if maybe my time had passed, and it was time to let one or all of the blogs go. While I was reflecting, I got back to the heart of why I started blogging in the first place- and that was so that I could simply get my thoughts down in a way that I could go back and look them over. Virtual journaling, if you will. Every once in a while I get caught up in the thoughts of who might or might not be reading my blogs, and, well, it actually doesn't matter to me, and I need to remember that. What matters is that I get my thoughts down. That's it. It also doesn't matter how regularly I blog either. That's been a tough one to come to grips with, because a good blogger maintains a faithful following by faithful blogging. The problem there is that blogging becomes a chore, something that HAS to be done. Well, that is changing, as evidenced by my silence here as of late.
I will no longer be blogging regularly and faithfully at a certain time on certain days of the week. This is partly necessitated by my schedule right now, but it's also because when something becomes routine, it's not from the heart anymore. I will still be blogging, and in fact, if time permits, there may even be more than one blog post a day. But the blogging while happen when I have real thoughts to blog about. Not thoughts that I have to pull out of nowhere simply because I've committed myself to blogging every morning.
It's very freeing thinking of that. I can't tell you how many times I've had a thought the past few weeks and thoguht that I should blog it, and then decided I would wait for the "regular blog time" of early morning. My early mornings have been so rushed as of late, that the blogging has never happened.
So with that being said, I've had these thoughts on discipline running through my head this week. Specifically, thoughts about the verse posted up above. Here, I'll post it again:
"Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them."
Oh, this verse. Every time I see it, it makes me cringe. Not because it evokes memories of discipline or anything, but because there are SO many people who cling to this verse as an excuse to harm their children in a physical manner- all in the name of discipline. When I saw this verse this week, I had one of those "onion" moments. A moment where a layer peeled away and I saw something hidden underneath, and it focused on the word discipline. And I saw it. I saw the word "discipline" and I saw something very important. It was the fact that the word discipline was used, and not punishment. There's a very fine line there, but it's there nonetheless. Discipline is a word that means correction, guidance, training that perfects, molds and perfects. Punishment, on the other hand, means suffering, pain or loss that exacts retribution. Or a penalty inflicted on an offender. These are two very different words and are all too often used interchangeably.
And they shouldn't be! But as I read this verse this week, it became very clear to me that the "rod" is not a tool of punishment. So then I had to go look up the word rod in the dictionary too. (I love studying verses in the Bible word by word like this. So fun!) Do you know the best definition? That the rod is like a sceptor- a wand of judgement so to speak. Not a rod meant to dole out punishment- not a switch or a hand to beat with. Furthermore, a sceptor is not wielded by just anyone. A sceptor is granted to one who holds wisdom and has the ability to carry out their important office -like a king, sherrif or marshall.
In one of the ultimate acts of irony, it is all too often Christian people, who confess to be loving and compassionate people, who flout the Bible and say that it gives them permission to beat their children. And yes, I used the word beat. A spanking or a slap on the hand is indeed a beating.
Parents, we are supposed to discipline our children. Make no mistake about that, the Bible tells us many times that we are to guide our children in the way they should go. But it never, ever says that we are to punish our children in a physical manner. I mean, if we really wanted to take the Bible literally in this instance, we could look at the Old Testament examples where God punished the people for bad behavior, and do you know that His punishments were always the same in their result? They resulted in death.
Methinks that would be a little extreme.
When we become parents, we are given these wonderful gifts of children, and along with them comes the responsibility of wielding a scepter. The scepter of parenthood, and we are charged to use it wisely.
"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." Proverbs 22:15 (AMP)
Wisdom will guide and mold our children. Discipline should be carefully thought upon, prayed upon, and then acted on accordingly. But most importantly, discipline should never be something that will harm a child in any way. Just a short while ago I read a horrifying news article about a l3 year old girl who died of hypothermia after being starved and locked out of the house as a means of discipline. I won't go into any more details than that, because it's simply awful that these acts were done in the name of discipline, and that these acts were done by so-called Christians. And while I realize there is a big difference between slapping a child on the hand and starving them to death, they both cause physical, bodily harm or pain to the child.
Pain. Jesus came to free us from pain. How can we, in good conscience as parents, cause a child pain on purpose in the name of love? Love freed us from pain over 2000 years ago. Jesus came and was the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be freed of pain and suffering for all eternity. And yet, so many of us will say it's our right as parents to inflict pain and suffering on the least of these.
"Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Let us hold our scepter wisely and with grace. Let us love our children and discipline them as the Bible instructs us to, but let us never raise our hand and punish with the very thing that Jesus came to free us from.