by Garland M. Robinson
One of the grave problems in America today is that the "rod of correction" is not used enough! I am certainly not referring to child abuse. Child abuse occurs when "in anger" or "ill will" one unduly hurts or harms a child to cause injury. I have no patience with anyone that would harm or abuse a child in any way.
Abuse takes more forms than simply in the physical sense -- the emotional and the spiritual are also involved. Abuse also occurs when the rod of correction (punishment) is withheld from a child. To withhold punishment from a child when that child needs direction and guidance will certainly warp that child's personality! You are doing irreparable harm to that child's emotional, social, physical and certainly his spiritual well-being. It teaches irresponsibility and that he can do as he pleases without any fear of being punished. The rise of child-crime is evidence to this fact!
God gives the final word on discipline. He made us and knows how we function. He knows what we need. Therefore, he says in Proverbs: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (13:24). "Betimes" means to be early at the task, in good season or time, in a short time, speedily. "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying" (19:18). "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him" (22:15). "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die" (23:13; see also Proverbs 23:14 and 29:17).
In the New Testament we read: "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4; cf. Colossians 3:21).
The rod of correction certainly DOES NOT warp a child's personality. On the contrary, a child's personality is warped when the rod of correction is withheld! I would hate to think where I would be today if it were not for a loving father and mother that used the rod of correction many, many times to shape and mold my character and personality. That's why God says, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." A child is abused when left to himself!