Vol.VIII No.I Pg.5
March 1971

To Spank Or Not

Jim R. Everett

I learned a lot from the cotton stalk, peach tree limb and 1X4 — primarily, that there are types of behaviour that are unacceptable. Not one of those lessons was enjoyable but most were very needed. But then, Gideon took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth (taught means correction and could be translated threshed), (Judges 8:16).

Punishment of children for wrongdoing is primarily the responsibility of parents. The chimney -corner- scripture spare the rod and spoil the child is not unlike Solomons statement: He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes, (Prov. 13:24). This does not justify beating the child black and blue; however, there are times when only the imprint of the whip impresses a lesson on the heart. Permissive parents supply the hammer for their own heartbreak.

While punishment and discipline sometimes become a necessity, there is a limit to motivation by spanking. When I was four, Mother thrashed me so many times one day that the last one didnt hurt —I just took a deep breath, turned and walked away. The only things you can teach a child by the rod is that misbehaviour brings disapproval and pain. But if no is all he hears and the smack of the hand is the only teacher, his character becomes negatively lop-sided. The will to do good should also be instilled in his heart.

Paul reproved Peter rather sharply (Gal. 2:11-14). He also sternly rebuked brethren for keeping company with a brother who was a fornicator (1 Cor. 5:1-ff), and called some deceitful workers and false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13). Not only did he reprove sinners himself, but he also charged Timothy: reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine, (2 Tim. 4:2). There are times when such is needed, but let one never confuse reproof with vindictiveness —Vengeance is mine, I will repay, God said (Rom. 12:19).

When I first began preaching, I felt it was my responsibility to lash those who were not conducting themselves properly — no thorns, just stern rebuke. I had no desire to hurt them, but felt that if they knew what was amiss, they would appreciate the spanking later, as I have now that years have passed. I learned after using many different kinds of whips that a steady diet of negative lessons only served to depress the congregation and frustrate me. The problem was not that the members didnt understand what was wrong, but that they had a greater desire to do other things and be other places.

Several years have passed and I continue to reprove sin and sinners. I use the whip if it is needed, but a sound spanking helps not the depressed, discouraged and weak — they need encouragement. It really doesnt help the person to try and beat him into subjection. The man without the will is about as tasty as the lobsters shell. Christ wants men who will to do his will. ——verett