A very nice person visited my blog here, and posed a question, which I think is a very fair question.
They asked about what my thoughts were on the Proverbs Vrs... particularly
Proverbs 23: 13-14 and Proverbs 22:15.
I am going to attempt to answer this the best I can, with how I believe the Lord has brought us to understand these most controversial of verses. Please understand in my answering these directly, that I do not hold judgement or condemnation on those who think differently than I do, as I know very well the church in general and America in general holds to a very different view. I also know personally, many family and friends who do things different than we do.
I believe the Word of God to be inerrant in it's original form. I believe it is GOD breathed and is the word of GOD and take it very seriously. With all respect and honor, I will attempt to rightfully divide the truth as best I can. I am not a theologian, but a simple Berean. I do not believe God's word is so complicated that you must have a degree to understand it, but I do believe the Holy Spirit can lead us into all Truth. Life is a process. Spiritual life is a process too. :)
With that said:
There are many things in scripture that are not "Literal" but maybe more "General" observation. The book of Proverbs is full of observation, and thought, in a Poetic form, but that does not mean that we are supposed to take it Literally that it is something we should do. There are also scriptures that ARE literal, that we do not adhere to today. I will explain later.
A few examples might be:
Proverbs 19:23- The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
However, a dear friend of mine, who's father was probably one of the most godly men I ever knew, WAS visited by harm. He was murdered in his little business that he had owned for 30 years.
So, I guess I cannot take that one literally.
Proberbs 20:30- Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.
This particular scripture is not aimed at children but adults. Do you believe that if you sin, you should have blows to your body to cleanse away your evil? Do strokes to your body make your innermost parts clean?
Or do you go to your Heavenly Father and ask for his forgiveness and HE makes you clean?
Proverbs 25:15- With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.
Can a soft tongue really break a bone?
Those are just a FEW verses off the top of my head.
There is NO QUESTION that the verses in which you refer are speaking about discipline. The question is: What is discipline?
He who does not discipline his son, HATES his son. This is very true. But discipline does not mean punish, nor is it equal to punish.
Discipline comes from the word Disciple. To teach.
Proverbs 22:15-Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
In this verse, it appears that DISCIPLINE IS the ROD, and the word ROD is being used metaphorically. So this verse could be read, Folly is bound up in the heart of a child but Godly instruction will drive it far away.
Proverbs 23:13-14- Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod he will not die. If you strike him with the rod you will save his soul from Sheol.
I do agree that we should NOT withhold discipline from our children. We should disciple them as is written in Numbers. When you wake up, when you walk, when you eat, when you lay down..... teach your children the ways of the Lord.
It does say, if you strike him he will not die. That is true, sometimes. Some kids die. But does it mean we are supposed to strike our kids? How many times? 1? 2? 3? 20?
The word child in this verse is very interesting. It is Naar. It means a young MAN between the ages of around 16-24.
Now, that puts a new spin on this verse. If you are talking about a foolish young person who is out of control, such as the young man in Singapore in the 1990's who destroyed a bunch of cars in a car lot, and got in trouble with the police. The actual punishment was 2 lashes. In his case, I could actually see a justice there. He wasn't 2. He was 17. But in our society, we consider a 17 year old untouchable! LOL Why? Because a group of Christians, who have PSYCHOLOGY degrees say that children learn everything by the time they are 5 and are set in their ways and if you don't punish them for every infraction possible, they will turn into hellions and go to hell...AND... It isn't true, nor is it biblical.
The truth is: YOU CANNOT SAVE YOUR CHILD. Nobody can come to the Father unless the Spirit Draws them. We come to faith by hearing the word of GOD and by trusting in the Death and Resurreciton of Jesus Christ. HE cleanses us from sin, not us.
Which brings up the verse Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a Child in the Way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
This scripture has been so misused over the years to put parents in bondage and fear.
It puts the salvation of the children ONTO the parent. The Jewish interpretation of this scripture is more like, "train them according to their bent", speaking of occupation and when they are older, they will have a job that they will keep.
It is GOD's Desire that none of us should perish. He leads us to repentence through HIS kindness.
There are 2 verses in the Entire New Testament that speak to child raising.
1. Ephesians 6:4
2. Collosians 3:21
Both of these verses say the same thing:
Father's do not Frustrate your children, and the other Father's do not provoke your children to anger.
There is much in scripture to help us in raising our children to serve the Lord, but from the very best I can see, leading them by example, as Christ was an example to the Disciples and ultimately all of us, seems to be a clear way we are supposed to behave towards our children.
Christ did not berate the disciples or beat them. He instructed them.
One thing that is interesting to me in regards to the old testament scriptures regarding the raising of children is the verses within the law.
What about the verse for STONING children?
by the way, the same word for child is used.
There are many verses in scripture that speak of things we do not adhere to today, including slavery, beating a slave, cities of refuge for murderers, if a woman was raped she was required to marry her rapist and stay married to him her entire life......!
It is funny, I personally believe that the scripture in 1 Corinthians 11 regarding a woman covering her head in public worship is a command for today, so I cover my head..... but many I know do not. :)
There are plenty of scriptures that tell us to not be in debt. Yet, most people carry a home mortage, if not more, including car payments and credit card payments.
It is interesting to me that the Church seems to by hyperfocused on the "ROD" verses in Proverbs.
I believe that the ROD, can be used both as a real term for a rod, and metaphorically. It seems there are places where it is interchanged. The Rod of Correction may not necessarily be a rod but a word.
They Rod and Thy Staff they comfort me..... Rods and Staffs are used to PROTECT sheep. The Rod is actually used to beat of wolves and those who would HARM sheep.
I believe that Paul uses this term in 1 Corinthians 4:18-21 when he says, "Should I come to you with a Rod or with Love in a spirit of gentleness?"
Honestly, the things that bother me most, about the "spanking" issue, are not the person who sees their little one running in the parking lot and in a heat of panic gives them a swat on the tush..... in a rare moment of wanting to keep their child safe.
It is the books written that put parents in bondage. The "If you do this GOD's WAY, your kids will grow up to be angels, and be saved and if you don't do it exactly like we say, everybody is headed to hell in a handbasket and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT! What horrible burdens to put on parents.
There are books out there that give you information on what implement of destruction to use, how to use it, when to use it, if the child doesn't receive the punishment, do it again, and again, and again, and then you have cases as in the little girl from Liberia and her sister who were severely abused and one of them died!
The parents in this case were following teachings they believed to be "biblical".
I have to say, that when one of our sons was 3, the book, "The Strong Willed Child" came out.
I remember reading it and thinking, HOLY COW, if I were to follow this advice with my strong willed child, he'd die. I got rid of the book. I am so glad I did, and that the Lord gave me understanding of my son, not long after that, as I sought HIS wisdom and not the wisdom of a Christian Psychologist,
that my son needed my tender hearted guidance and not a fear based parenting style. He is serving the Lord today and is a huge delight to my heart.
Parenting is serious business and how we parent IS important! VERY important. But one of the scriptures that really sticks in my head the most is the warning in Matthew 18: 1-6.... That scripture to me is CLEAR! If I couple that with the other scriptures about not causing little ones to be exasperated or driven to wrath, I find myself looking to my Lord for honest and true direction for how to raise my children in a God honoring way and I am continually reminded of my own need for forgiveness for my own failures.
I do ask this for contemplation: Why do we hold our children to law, yet desire mercy from God for our own sin? Why do we not lead our children to a life of repentence through grace and mercy given to all who believe? Why do we think we should make our children pay for sin, yet we do things every single day, that were it not for the mercy of God in our lives, we would be condemned?
Micah 6:8- He has shown thee, Oh Man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you!
But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk Humbly with your God.
Thanks for visiting my blog and asking! :)
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)