We've acknowledged previously that the rod is one of the means God has instituted for correction, self-discipline, and growth in knowledge. The Scripture tells us that it is the tool that the Lord uses to "drive foolishness far from" our children.
To that end we should apply it with good prudence when our children act out. The Scripture above is clear on how effective it is. As a matter of fact, the early American proverb is verification of how much educators believed in it:
"Reading, writing, and arithmetic, all taught to the tune of a hickory stick."
But it must be kept in mind that corporal punishment is not a vindictive action or even purely punitive in its function. It is an act of love.
Folly is bound up
in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline
drives it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15 ESV
To that end, spanking a child reflects God's discipline of us. This Scripture must be heard as an echo of the passage that preceded it. Proverbs 3:11 tells us that the "Lord disciplines those whom He loves." We are exhorted not to despise God's chastisement because it is a sign of His deepest interest in us.
This is part of the reason the world around us seeks so avidly to dissuade us from the use of the rod. They despise it because there is no belief in God, or at least no belief in a God who induces any kind of personal suffering. The god of most Americans is only supposed to relieve suffering. Certainly a 'loving God' would not inflict suffering, would he? That's at least the opinion of our culture.
But true Christians understand that the Lord brings us into obedience through suffering. We know that even Jesus himself, though sinless, "learned obedience through suffering." (Heb. 5:7).
To this end, Christians have an alternative view of human pain and sorrow. Our momentary afflictions are being used by God to develop everlasting virtue. Our heavenly Father lovingly uses Providence as a way to develop our faith and life.
When we spank our children, we understand that the rod's momentary affliction is reflective of God's own principle of love. Far from being an outgrowth of our anger, it is an indication of how much we care and have the child's best interests in mind.
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