Loving by Hurting

I have not met a parent that enjoys spanking their child. Frankly, I would be worried if they did. I had some friends in elementary school that relayed spanking stories as if their parents enjoyed doing it. I believe this is the case because the parents did not discipline under the authority of God.

Prov. 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him

This connection between discipline and use of the rod is the same connection made when God speaks to David regarding his son who will build the Temple. What is of particular note is the analogy that God uses. He compares himself to a father and it is assumed that this entails discipline.

I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men (2 Sam 7.14).

Why?

Prov. 23:13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
14         If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Love is doing the best for the person. Whether that be laying one’s life down or laying down the rules. God wants us to love each other by offering encouragement AND correction. This is a reflection of who God is. He does not leave us in our rebellion as Christians. As a father he corrects us “for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov 3.12). And, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12.6).

Many people say that God is love. What our culture typically means by this is that God leaves a person in his sin and accepts him for what he is. This is only one side of love. God accepts us only as we are in Christ – not if we remain in sin. But he also disciplines us to get us away from our vomit. He is not a father who sits around watching SportsCenter while his kid plays in a pig’s sty – full of manure and rotten leftovers.

The most loving thing God does for his children is hurt them. This is the most loving thing that an earthly father can do. Sometimes when the child asks for Serpent Sin, Dad must give him a smack on the hands.

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Filed under Family | Parenting, Interpretation, Theology

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