Slate recently reported that spanking children may not be such a bad form of discipline after all. Surprisingly, the reporter pushed past a lot of the cultural anti-spanking prejudice to ask some reasonable questions about what the studies indicate. Although it appears she has not been persuaded to spank her own child, and she chooses to end the piece with a touch of doomsday, she maintains a level of clearheadedness in much of the article.Further on...
What I find so interesting about this discussion is how it digs down to expose the roots of our theology and forces a much bigger question onto the table: Does God purposefully and intentionally send stinging pain into my life? For those addressed in Hebrews 12:3–11, the answer was “yes,” the strong opposition to their faith and their persecution was an experience of God’s loving discipline. God wanted to grab their attention.Read the rest.
Perhaps we prefer that our Heavenly Father delivers only a “tippy, tap, tippy, tap” or “light pressure.” And that’s all we want to attribute to God. But the really hard and painful times of suffering in life — those memorably painful times — may be stinging discipline from our Heavenly Father.
On one hand, we need to be careful in how we interpret providence in our lives and in the lives of others (see John 9:1–3). But we also need a category for “sharp and memorable pain” in our lives as an expression of God’s love for us. And until that point of theology becomes settled for us, trying to define parental discipline for children will be really hard to figure out.
As a side note, is it not odd that many in our culture would generally have no problem with abortion yet would have a huge problem with spanking a child. Seems like a rather strong disconnect. We can kill the child, no problem. Just make sure the kid is small enough, not developed enough, quiet enough, and done in an environment that is sterile, cold, and clean. But to give a swat on the rear that is painful for a brief moment for the sake of loving disciple would be unthinkable. Very odd indeed.