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SPANKING, part 3: The WHEN of Spanking


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church


Parents should spank the children when sin has occurred.  Biblical discipline must come at the right time. When a parent spanks his child out of anger or because the parent views his rights violated, the child will be exasperated, become hardened, and he will be unsure in the future as to whether or not he’ll be disciplined for this or that action.

Proverbs 22:15 speaks of foolishness that is bound up in the heart of the child. This Hebrew word for “foolishness” carries the idea of ‘moral perversion’ and ‘lack of fear of God.’  Parents must understand the importance of spanking and undertake the diligence in using the rod when the child has sinned.

It is wise for parents to refrain from spanking the child for childishness.  If a child acts in a childish way that is not sinful, that action does not deserve a spanking (e.g., spilling the milk, performing a chore in a wrong manner). If, however, the child is given a command and the child refuses to obey, or chooses to do something else, then that child should be spanked. Quite simply: when parents spank the children, the parent should be able to open the Bible and point to chapter and verse where the child has erred in his ways against God. Ultimately, this is key. Parents must teach and show the children that they must be spanked because they have transgressed God’s Word and have disobeyed God. You do not want to teach a child that he is getting a discipline because he made dad and mom mad. Parents are not the ultimate authority (parents have derived authority from God). God is. In the discipline, the child should understand very clearly that he will receive the spanking because he acted foolishly and sinned against God.

This means that parents must KNOW THEIR BIBLES.  To biblically discipline and love the children in this God-ordained grace-act of reproving children for sin and pointing them to Christ requires parents to read, study, know, and memorize God’s Word. Parents must know when sin has occurred. Parents must realize that disobedience, a complaining heart, an unsubmissive attitude, a slanderous word against others, a quarreling spirit are sins against God. And parents should know where to go in their Bibles to show what God says about such actions.

This means that parents must PRIORITIZE THE TIME TO DISCIPLINE WHEN IT SEEMS INCONVENIENT. It can seem that children disobey at the most inconvenient times and that discipline should be given when parents are least ready or willing to give it. But this is a precious gift of God to wean parents off of themselves and it provides an occasion for the parent to die to self, love the child, obey God, and take advantage of the occasion to discipline.  Parents may feel tired, or busy, or frantic, or rushed, or late to a meeting, but discipline when done faithfully will honor God, teach the child, and result in joy in the parent’s heart.

This means that parents must SHOW THE CHILD THEIR SIN AGAINST GOD BY POINTING THEM TO THE SCRIPTURES.  When the child has sinned and you’re in the discipline “room” (in a private location/room, not in a public, visible area), parents should be able to open their Bibles and read the Bible with the children, and even showing the child what chapter and verse they are reading (even if the child is too young to read himself) so that the child will understand (over the course of time) that the discipline must be received because of disobedience to the pure and perfect Word of God. Parents must study their Bibles and know where to go, where to turn, and show the child where the sin is in the Bible and what God says about it and the danger of committing such transgressions.

This means that parents must USE THE OCCASION AS A GOSPEL-PROCLAIMING MOMENT TO EXPOSE SIN AND THE GRACE OF CHRIST.  When parents choose to obey God in this way when the child has sinned, it throws open the door for a gospel conversation (or presentation). If the child is very young, it provides a sweet opportunity for parents to expose the sin, show the error in the text of the Bible, and proclaim the demand to turn from sin and trust in Christ and receive His grace.  For those who are older and who can reason and respond to the parent, the parents should all the more take the occasion to proclaim the gospel and warn the child of the danger of his ways and of the plenteous mercy available in Christ and in His cross-work and resurrection! When the children sin, God provides wonderful occasions for parents to be the resident evangelists in the home to lovingly compel and urge the children to see their sin, the danger that will result if they live in unbelief and rebellion, and to rest fully and confidently in Jesus Christ who is mighty to save.


Tomorrow's topic: The WHY of spanking

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