I believe that spankings are an effective means of training a child in the way he should go. Don’t misunderstand that statement. I do not advocate beating a child, hitting a child out of anger, or any form of child abuse. But a firm spanking, when done appropriately and at the right time, is very effective in teaching a child the difference between right and wrong.
I hated to spank my boys, but I knew it was my responsibility to teach them to behave appropriately. I’m thankful that they were both very obedient, and I didn’t have to do it very often. But when I did, I made it a point to have a cooling-off time, and to give them advance warning that it was going to happen. I would sit down with them and explain what they had done wrong, and that the spanking was to teach them to remember to do right. When it was over, I would wrap my arms around them and reassure them of my love, and explain again why it had to happen. I wanted them to understand that I wanted them to learn to do right, and I didn’t want to have to spank them. Having been on the receiving end of my share of spankings when I was young, I would understand if they did not remember it that way. But I was very intentional in this.
One afternoon, it was probably a Sunday afternoon, it was naptime. A gentle, steady, rhythmic pat on the bottom is an effective way to put a small child to sleep. My son was almost asleep, and I heard this quiet voice say, “Daddy, are your spanking me?” I assured him that no, I was not spanking him, I was just trying to help him go to sleep, and he just said, “Okay.”
The Bible tells us that God chastens those that he loves. This is different from punishment. If God punished us for our sin, we would have no hope. The punishment for sin is death. Chastisement is different. It is the administration of discipline for the purpose of correction.
Hebrews 12:5-11 says “… ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” ESV