Proverbs 19:18 – “Chasten [instruct; chastise; reprove; discipline] thy son while there is [exists] hope [expectation of what one longs for], and let not thy soul [life; heart] spare [take away; regard] for his crying [to die or lose one’s life].”
Mention corporal discipline or a good old-fashioned spanking and a parent risk being greeted with a chorus of liberal, militant voices hurling accusations of child abuse.
Are there abuses by parents that go far beyond the biblical exhortation of loving discipline and training? Absolutely; but those who wrong children by exercising excessive discipline should not become the justification for parents neglecting their responsibility to teach and correct their children. Parents must teach their children that choices have consequences and sinful actions lead to negative outcomes…before it is too late [“while there is hope”]!
Solomon states what every parent must accept; there is a brief window of time and opportunity for instructing a child. A wise parent foresees the tragedy of failing to correct the wrongdoing of their child and loves the soul of their son or daughter too much to neglect the responsibility of instilling in them a respect for law and authority (Proverbs 13:24).
Mom and dad, don’t be fooled by what some describe as “crocodile tears”—an allusion of sorrow concealing a heart bent on sin. Solomon warns—don’t allow a child’s cries keep you from bearing the spiritual mantle to train your son and daughter (Proverbs 22:6).
I close with a German proverb that serves as a warning and exemplifies the lesson we should take from Proverbs 19:18– “It is better that the child weep than the father” [I might add, in their old age].
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith