“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” (Proverbs 13:24)
It is amazing how many Christian parents there are (evangelical Christians, mind you) who now believe that spanking is unnecessary and outdated (it’s a hangover from those unenlightened ages which produced the hard-hearted, hypocritical people that we believe populated the past).
How often do we hear that if you love your child, spanking is not really necessary? Spanking is simply a form of “bullying.” Etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.
Many think they are far wiser than Solomon and the Spirit that inspired him.
By contrast, the Bible is refreshing for its straight-forward speech: If you don’t use the rod wisely and faithfully in chastening your children, then you hate them. Many modern commentators shy away from the blunt language of the Spirit and assure us that there are far more appropriate (and acceptable) ways to read what is intended here. But when you read the old guys, they tell us the truth. So, for example:
The foolish fondness of too indulgent parents is accounted by them parental love; but the Spirit of God calls it hatred. That affection which is prejudicial to the spiritual interests of its objects is love in the language of men, but hatred in the language of the Holy Ghost. (George Lawson)
You indulge your child and do not correct him; you permit selfishness, and envy, and anger to encrust themselves, by successive layers, thicker and thicker on his character: you beseech him not to be naughty, but never enforce your injunction by a firm application of the rod; and you think the fault, if it be a fault, is a very trivial one: perhaps you appropriate to yourself a measure of blame for loving your child too much. Nay brother; be not deceived; call things by their right names. Beware of the woe denounced against those who call evil good. You do not love, you hate your child. . . . If there were real love, it would be strong enough to endure the pain of refusing to comply with improper demands, and chastening for intentional or persistent wrong-doing. Parents who are in the habit of giving their children what they ask, and permitting them to disobey without chastisement, may read their own character in this verse of Scripture. Such a father “hateth his son” that is the word. To call it love is one of Satan’s lies. (William Arnot)
The discipline of our children must therefore commence with self-discipline. Nature teaches to love them much. But we want a controlling principle, to teach us to love them wisely. The indulgence of our children has it root in self-indulgence. We do not like putting ourselves to pain. (Charles Bridges)
yea and Amen.