I am trying to read the Bible everyday and today as I was reading Proverbs 13:24 I read, “Whoever spares the rod, hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” I was sort of pondering on that this morning. I went and looked in other translations and the majority of them said the same thing, if you don’t use the rod, then you hate your children. Wow, those are strong words.
In our society people have read that verse to mean that you must spank your children, the rod equals punishment. So, as I was thinking about that I dug a little and found that in the Bible the rod was used by those who herded sheep. Now, they didn’t hit the sheep over the heads with the rod, they used it to gently tap them to go where they wanted them to go, They led them to the right places, the safe places. If a sheep got out of the herd, the rod was used to lead it back to the safety of the herd, never to hit it. Moses had a staff, or rod. He used it to lead the Hebrews out of slavery. He held it up high so that the Hebrews could see it and it would guide them as they were leaving Egypt, to go to a better place.
Both those examples don’t have anything to do with punishment but with discipline, something our society is woefully lacking. I have seen so many children that have not been disciplined by parents and so these children are making unsafe decisions with their lives. In an effort to be a friend to their children they are failing to lead them, to guide them, to keep them safe.
It’s sometimes the easy path to let a child go their own way, somehow thinking that we’ll just be friends and that will work or that they need to make their own decisions and that will help them. But that is not what the Bible says. It says, if you spare the rod of discipline then you hate your child. It says that the one who disciplines their child loves that child. They really are strong words but I think God has it right. We would do well to listen to Him.
Have a great day and remember, don’t spare that rod!