By Jack Glover
I expect many of you have heard of, or seen, the child abuse that recently took place in Indiana. A mother was captured on a store security camera punching and shaking her little girl after taking her to the car. As I write this, the mother has surrendered and is facing some serious charges.
By the mother’s own confession, the case in Indiana involves a woman clearly out of control and engaged in sin. The Bible does not advocate child abuse and instead demands the opposite: parental nurturing and love.
The father is told not to “provoke your children to anger” (Eph. 6:4) lest they “lose heart” (Col. 3:21). Mothers are instructed to “love their children” so that “the word of God be not blasphemed.” Parents, furthermore, should see their children as God sees them: “How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate” (Ps. 127:5).
When the disciples tried to stop the children from bothering Jesus, He rebuked them and instructed them that the kingdom would be made up of such (Luke 18:16), meaning that we adults need to learn their good characteristics. Yes, children are a blessing.
But they are children, and the Bible teaches that they also need instruction in order to develop into adults. That responsibility falls upon the parents, especially fathers (Eph. 6:4), and it includes — or actually is — discipline.
The scriptures tell us that “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11). God instructs parents to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. And that even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Prov. 20:11, 22:6, 22:15, 29:15).
The obvious conclusion from the scriptures is that parents must discipline, teach, chastise and instruct their children without being abusive. The problem is we live in a nation that becomes more liberal and permissive each day. What if some someone with a video camera decides to report the parent who is using proper discipline because the man or woman behind the camera has decided that any “use of the rod” is abuse? That attitude is apparent with policemen, teachers, hotel desk clerks, storekeepers and others who might condemn even the God-sanctioned use of physical discipline.
Many in our nation think any kind of physical discipline is abuse and are quite willing to “turn you in” for proper child discipline or condemn you if you advocate that others discipline their children. It’s just another trial for those who love their children and dare advocate that God’s way is right.