Is Spanking Wrong?
I recently read an article written about an organization specializing in the care of children recommending that spanking or corporeal punishment be made illegal in schools throughout the United States. Many states according to the article have already outlawed spanking in schools but others have not. The article also pointed out the organization thought it was not best for parents to spank their children but thought other forms of correction should be used instead. The article referenced scientific studies which claimed to demonstrate spanking did not help the child achieve and develop better. When we read articles like this as Christians, what are we to think? Should we not spank our children or is spanking something the Bible teaches parents to use in the correction of their children? Here are some points I would encourage us to consider on this topic:
- Spanking should not be so excessive it crosses the line into the realm of abuse. Parents are not allowed to abuse their children. The natural affection of a parent for one’s children should prevent them from harming their children (Romans 1:31). Parents who spank their children to the point it causes them to bleed, leaves bruises, etc. need to seriously consider whether they have crossed the line and went into the realm of abuse rather than godly discipline.
- Spanking is not the only form of correction a parent has at his disposal and therefore shouldn’t be the only form of correction a parent ever uses. The Bible speaks of God disciplining and chastening us and compares that to how parents might discipline and chasten their children (Hebrews 12:5-11). God’s discipline and chastisement does not always take the same form and neither should a parent’s discipline and chastisement of a child always take the same form.
- Spanking is a form of corrective discipline which the Bible teaches parents is a useful means of training the child. Several passages in the book of Proverbs give godly advice on raising children and teach parents to use the rod as a means of discipline. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (NKJV). Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (NKJV). Proverbs 23:13-14 says, “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell” (NKJV). Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (NKJV). The rod obviously refers to an instrument of corporeal punishment to help in the training and discipline of the child.
- God’s ways and the world’s way of thinking about things do not always match. God through the prophet said, “For My thoughts are not your thought, nor are your ways My ways … For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV). God’s ways are obviously better than our ways. Men may claim God’s ways are wrong but let’s acknowledge God and His ways to be true event if that makes every man a liar or wrong on a topic (Romans 3:4). As we strive to raise our children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), we need to not allow ourselves to be conformed to the world but rather be transformed by the word of God (Romans 12:2). Let’s allow God’s word to guide our thinking rather than the recommendation of the so-called experts in the field of parenting! God is the one who made us and He knows what is best for us!
- Some segments in society seem to think using punishment as a deterrent does not work. People who are arguing against capital punishment and spanking seem to have bought into this notion. However, punishment does have a deterrent effect upon the wicked. Ecclesiastes 8:11 says, “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (NKJV). Let’s not back down from dealing with bad behaviors in our children or in others because we think it will do no good! When we follow God’s pattern for dealing with evil, God’s pattern will accomplish what it is intended to do.
Let’s not be intimidated by the wisdom of the world but be more impressed with the wisdom contained in God’s word!