Discipline is In
All of us have watched fads come and go. As time passes we change makeup, hemlines, and hairstyles. Some might remember plaid pants, bell-bottoms (the 1st time), parachute pants, or stone washed jeans. Manufacturers love for fads to come in and out of style because it usually means that our culture is purchasing more stuff. Even electronics come and go (e.g., beta machines, 8-tracks, etc.).
Christians are constantly bombarded with the concept that we need to keep up with the latest style or trend. The reality is just the opposite. In fact, if society is embracing something, Christians probably need to be going the other direction. Case in point, discipline. Currently, in America, the concept of spanking is “outdated” and is considered politically incorrect. In fact, some would argue that it is a form of abuse that harms a child’s self-esteem. One word: hogwash!
Today, we had the pleasure of teaching 5 lessons at 3 different schools! We taught Bible and science to High School and Jr. High students. It was such a joy opening the Bible and demonstrating to the students how the scientific evidence truly fits God’s Word. The students were very attentive and asked great questions, as we explored things like alleged fossil men, the inspiration of the Bible, and the dinosaurs.
However, one thing that stood out was how well behaved the students were during our time together. They demonstrated an air of respect and obedience, that to be totally honest, I have not seen in a while—even in many churches. And I think I know why. During one of my lessons two young men in a different class were taken into the hallway and spanked. Right there as I was speaking!
I could not help but smile as I thought to myself, “So that’s why the students are so well behaved; they recognize they may be punished for bad behavior.” For these students there are real consequences to their actions.
In most American schools Bibles and Paddles are a thing of the past. In schools that do still allow spanking, the paperwork required is often so burdensome that teachers don’t even bother. But it’s not just schools where discipline has become extinct. Many homes—including Christian homes—no longer discipline children. Instead we embrace the latest “fad” like time out or building up their self-esteem.
Solomon, in his wisdom declared, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). Later on he cautioned, “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” (Proverbs 23:13-14). I have listened to many Bible “scholars” try to put a different spin on these verses, suggesting that it is not actually talking about spanking children. Those verses are not hard to understand, and they don’t change over time. (Consider also, Proverbs 22:15).
Christians need to wake up and realize that God’s way still works. It’s not a fad or the latest “feel good” theory—but rather a method delivered by our Creator. His ways do not change with other fads.
Solomon warned “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction (Proverbs 19:18). Now contrast that with a statement he wrote earlier: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest his correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11).
Have we failed to teach our children that actions have consequences? What does this mean when our children turn into adults and give no thought about their actions or eternal destiny? In the Bahamas the students still recognize that disrespect and disobedience will result in a swift punishment. What about in our own congregations and homes?
Tonight I will sleep extremely well. After teaching 5 lessons at the schools we then conducted a seminar in the community center in Freeport that started at 7:00pm. It was extremely well attended and those in attendance asked great questions! It appears that things are really off to a tremendous start. Continue to pray for the success of our time here.