again, from my conversation today: To spank or not to spank:
I dont see the Bible/God’s Word saying we must or must not spank. So, other ideas or truths need to come into sway here.
I think as Christian parents we easily confuse the goal with our responsibilities. … Or something like that. What I mean is that we want to make obedience the goal in the parent-child relationship. After all, God tells children to obey their parents. We think: if I can make my child consistenly obey me, then I’m assuring that my child will be saved, that s/he will obey God, etc, etc.
Is this true?
It confuses me now. I had parents who taught me to obey. I now live a socially acceptable life (don’t steal, drink, etc.). But, I still sin and disobey God, even in ways that shock me. And the more I learn about God, the more I realize I don’t obey Him–that I never reach His standard of obedience. That Jesus had to do that that for me. Etc.
So it kind of breaks down here somewhere.
It seems to me, from Deut. 6 and Titus 2:4, that our goal as parents is to strive for a teaching, love relationship with our kids …. and we teach obedience AND MANY OTHER THINGS ABOUT LOVING GOD out of that.
Back to the spanking thing. I think the ship is gentle vs. adversarial relationships and the spanking question has become the masthead (most visible part) of that ship. I don’t know yet in myself if all spanking is categorically adversarial. But I might venture to say that most of it is.
Honestly, spanking is still there somewhere in my parenting “toolbox.” It’s just way, way out of reach for me.
Some reasons are personal, some are theological.
I think it’s because of my particular nature and conscience, that if I use spanking as a main tool, I literally become the Wicked Witch of the West. I become evil natured. Toward my children. I do not show nor grow in affectionate love for them as I am looking to do based on Titus 2:4.
Also, the choice not to spank for me is part of a greater choice to strive to not parent in a punitive (punishment-oriented) way. Which means that I am choosing to 1) learn/study age-appropriate behavior and work with that in mind instead of ignoring it, and 2) take a larger burden on myself to help my child learn to obey (or whatever desired attitude or behavior) in other, more positive or accomodating ways.
(Someone else can probably say this better.)
It is very hard. I want to run away sometimes. I fail every day. But, honesty moment, this is the kind of parent I want to be. That I think God wants me to be.
Theological reasons I steer away from punishment-based teaching:
God doesn’t primarily or even mostly teach us through punishment or fear.
My obedience is not the “goal” of God’s relationship with me. That I love Him is His goal–obedience and many other wonderful things like suffering for Him with gladness will flow out of our love relationship.
If God punished me now for my sins now, I would be beaten down and destroyed. The more I look on Him with love, the more I see my shortcomings. Christ took it all–all God’s anger. And I have consequences for my sin, and fear of consequences may keep me from sin if my love and faith are weak, but God is with me even then and redeems it.
Wrote myself empty for now.