Whippings…are they legal? Are whippings recommended or permissible for parents to administer to their children? The topic of whipping is trending today in newscasts and social media. Whippings are nothing new particularly for the black community who often grew up under the whipping belt or switch. Many parents in the black community believed that sparing the rod by withholding a good whipping spoiled the child and they had scripture to prove it.
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Pro 19:18
There is no doubt that a parent can be abusive in administering corporal punishment and certainly discipline should not be done in an unreasonable manner. But there are some people who are appalled that whipping is done at all. They were not reared with this kind of correction and believe it to be inhumane. Prisons are full of criminals and children that got no correction at home but yet we debate the use of proper corporal punishment while crimes by children have greatly risen from homes without proper discipline.
In the black community, parents believed strongly in corporal punishment and, to make things all the worst, parents would tell the misbehaving child to go get his own switch off the tree outside. And if he did not get a sufficient switch then the parent would go get a proper one off the tree. Many of us learned quickly not to misbehave from mere mention of a switch or a parent’s look that promised a good whipping when we got home. We grew up knowing to do right or we would receive punishment. Teachers, neighbors or other children would report our wrongdoings and we would be dealt with when we got home. But within this generation are many children and adults who were not reared with this fear of punishment for doing wrong. Too many children were consoled with treats as reward if they would just do right or stop misbehaving. Some children are routinely sent to their room or a privilege taken away as punishment for misbehaving. There are many ways of correcting children. Modern instructors believe that corporal punishment is improper. Certainly not all methods are effective and we still debate today about the right way to get misbehaving children to comply. It is true that balance and proper instruction is needed in administering discipline to a child and not all children can be disciplined with the same method.
While we debate whether or not to use corporal punishment for misbehaving children, God has never changed His word or His practice of correcting His children. God believes in the whip. After all the Holy Spirit recorded this instruction for all posterity: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Pro 19:18). The whip referred to here evidently was severe enough to cause pain and crying. God has used the whip through the ages to discipline Israel and the nations of the world.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 2Sa 7:14
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back. Pro 26:3
O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Psa 38:1
And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them. Eze 4:13
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Rev 3:19
And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. Jer 24:8-9
The principles of the bible are timeless and given by an Omniscient God who Fathered the first children and disciplined them through several methods. Scripture reveal that God uses various methods of disciplining His children. One of the ways God show adults their sin is through their children. If we look closely we can see our own bad habits and sins in children’s behavior because they are like their parents, the very image. A looking glass shows us our own image so we can see ourselves the way others see us. We look in the mirror to correct a hair out of place or clothes in disarray. Other things can be a mirror for us besides children. Other people committing our personal sin can be a mirror that can sometimes cause us unknowingly to judge our sin as well. David condemned himself by looking at such a mirror supplied by God.
And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; …Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. 2Sa 12:5-7, 9-14
These scriptures reveal that God use mirror imagery to reveal sin. In this example, the sinner was told the crime and punishment during the discipline as a teaching process.
God still uses the whip on individuals and nations to discipline bad behavior. We see God using the whip today but many do not recognize it because they do not understand or believe in use of the whip or use of corporal punishment. When people believe they are good, they cannot fathom being disciplined. God is whipping our nation and parts of the world today but America does not understand she is being whipped. She wonders what is going on because she is hurting but is not use to being whipped. The African American population, of all people, should understand but many black people are not paying attention to world events or are unconcerned. A great deal of Caucasian parents did not practice corporal punishment with their children and cannot easily recognize or understand these signs. But nevertheless America is being whipped to bring about correction. While America has refused Christian guidelines for moral behavior, they are, nevertheless, polling each other in society over what is acceptable or ethical behavior. Here is what God’s word has to say about this practice.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 2Co 10:12-13
When a child is disciplined they are usually told the reason and given a chance to repent. Because many people cannot hear God speaking, He is telling America its reason for being whipped through the visual pictures brought about by various reporting through the media. People are debating punishment in the news without realizing it. They are debating how to punish wrongdoing or fight back. The worst thing one can do when being whipped by a parent is to talk back, argue the punishment or fight back which usually brings twice the punishment. It is important to be careful what is said while under judgment.
Some people are looking in the mirror at their own behavior through the lives of others but not recognizing themselves because they have no righteous standard by which to judge. We are observing our nation go through a costly and time-consuming process of trying to improve on God’s plan for mankind. The Ten Commandments and the Word of God provided in the Old and New Testaments were planned as instruction to provide mirror imagery that would allow judgment of our own actions. This biblical resource answers the questions that people are still asking:
• What standard really measures what is moral and what is not?
• Is a man’s home his own personal kingdom allowing him to do what he wants?
• Are all people equal?
• Are women less valuable than men?
• Were women intended to be a mere tool for man’s pleasure?
• Is it okay to profit from other’s labor without proper compensation?
• Is wife beating a family matter?
• Is police brutality sanctioned as proper authority?
• What can be done about political corruption?
• What is the proper use of guns?
• Why are teenagers and adults committing suicide?
• What is the worth of the unborn life?
• Should the rich make the rules and lord over the poor?
• Do we owe respect to people in authority?
So while we look at this issue of whipping, we must admit that whippings were intended to be used by parents toward children as discipline and judgment for unrighteous behavior that would bring the child back to right behavior. Consider for yourself: After many years of practicing your particular type of discipline, has it proven to be successful for producing righteous, mature adults, ready for society. We do not agree as a nation about what is righteous behavior so it may take a while for many to see themselves through the mirrors presented before them. Let’s still hope and pray that we as individuals and nation realize the imagery in the mirror and correct bad behavior.
Written: September 19, 2014