We recently took our 11 month old twins for a minor surgery. It hurt them. I know it did. I sometimes spank my children for their disobedience and the whole point is for it to hurt, or it won’t do any good. My son has chores to do including mowing which sometimes causes him sore muscles and even the occasional blister that hurt him. The problem is that our society has equated hurt with harm and they are not the same. The saying used to be “no pain, no gain”, but now we try to avoid pain at all costs. The fact is that all of the things above are beneficial to our children. Even though those things did hurt they are not harmed by those things.
Think about it this: Have you ever had a cavity so bad that it gave you a toothache and you had to go to the dentist to get it pulled, filled, or a root canal? Most of us have. When you went to the dentist did it hurt? Sure it did. There was a shot and the drilling or prying, the tingling and sore jar, the place where you bit your tongue or cheek while everything was numb, etc. Did the dentist do something that hurt you? Yes! Did the dentist do anything that harmed you? No! The dentist tried to help you.
Let’s go back about 6 months to a year before the visit to the dentist’s office. You ate 12 little candy bars, a half cheesecake, a bag of jelly beans, a bucket of ice cream, etc. and then forgot to brush and floss. Maybe you did something like that once a week or once a month. Did it hurt? No! It tasted good and you felt that sugar rush. Life was going good, right? Wrong! That was what harmed you. Those were the things that caused the cavity that wound up hurting so badly.
Now let’s conclude. In the process of the whole “I can’t stand to make the kids cry”, I just can’t bring myself to spank them because I will hurt them”, “I don’t want to make them work, they have to be kids”, “If I make them go to church they will hate it”, etc. kind of mindset, we are metaphorically feeding the kids sugar and sending them to bed without brushing their teeth. There are different kinds of abuse. One is the physical abuse of beating and other harm done to children, but the other is much more subtle. It is a spiritual abuse where children are not disciplined and do not learn respect for authority, do not mature, and do not learn self-control. We are trying to avoid hurting them, but wind up harming them in the long run. We blame it on love, but true love is willing to discipline now even though it causes pain to avoid the harm of the future. That is the example God gave fathers and we need to follow His example.
Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Deuteronomy 8:5-6 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. (6) Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
Hebrews 12:6-7 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?