Forgiveness. It’s the main theme of Christianity. As Christians, we are forgiven because God sent Jesus to Earth to be the Atonement for all our sins, past, present, and future. Through the precious blood of Christ, we are made clean. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. We no longer have to pay for our sins as the people of the Old Testament did through sacrificial offerings of usually animals. Blood is a big deal throughout the Holy Bible.
“Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words” Exodus 24:8.
“This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams without defect. 2 And from the finest wheat flour make round loaves without yeast, thick loaves without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, and thin loaves without yeast and brushed with olive oil. 3 Put them in a basket and present them along with the bull and the two rams. 4 Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water. 5 Take the garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself and the breastpiece. Fasten the ephod on him by its skillfully woven waistband. 6 Put the turban on his head and attach the sacred emblem to the turban. 7 Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head. 8 Bring his sons and dress them in tunics 9 and fasten caps on them. Then tie sashes on Aaron and his sons.[a] The priesthood is theirs by a lasting ordinance.
“Then you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.
10 “Bring the bull to the front of the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. 11 Slaughter it in the LORD’s presence at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 12 Take some of the bull’s blood and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest of it at the base of the altar. 13 Then take all the fat on the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and both kidneys with the fat on them, and burn them on the altar. 14 But burn the bull’s flesh and its hide and its intestines outside the camp. It is a sin offering” Exodus 29:1-14.
“Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering [Or purification offering] for the generations to come. It is most holy to the LORD” Exodus 30:10.
“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, [The Greek for sacrifice of atonement refers to the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant (see Lev. 16:15,16).] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished” Romans 3:25.
God knew that we humans could not keep the Law of Moses no matter how hard we tried. He knew that He had set such a high standard of living that there was no way we could ever live up to it. So He provided a way for the Israelites to atone for their sins. Lambs were used regularly for blood sacrifices. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, we also see God’s people rebel against Him, God allowing His Wrath to come on the people, the people crying out to Him in repentance, and God having compassion on His people, only to have His people rebel against Him again. This cycle repeated itself for thousands and thousands of years. Yet, God had a plan to save His people once and for all because He loves us all so much! God sent His Son, who is actually God Himself, to suffer and die in order to pay for all of humanity’s sins. Jesus commands us to forgive just as we have been forgiven. “ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matthew 6:14-15. When we ask Jesus to forgive us when we sin against Him and break His heart every day, He immediately forgives us even though we don’t deserve it. He no longer makes us pay for our sins through a sacrifice. He constantly freely forgives us no matter how sinful we are being or have been.
John 8:3-11 is a perfect example of how Jesus freely forgives. Let’s look at it.
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” John 8:3-11.
The penalty for a woman caught in the act of adultery in biblical times under the Law was stoning. The people were ready to stone this woman to death without even knowing all the details of the situation. But how did Jesus respond? By telling them to let the one without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. None of the people there, except for Jesus, were without sin as Romans 3:23 points out “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Therefore, the only person who had the right to condemn the woman and make her pay for her sin was Jesus. But instead He forgave her and let her go free!
So why is it that parents who believe in spanking make our children pay for their sins through a spanking before or in spite of offering their forgiveness? We adults sin much more than young children do and yet, the children are the ones who are made to pay. We are called to be patient with one another. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” Ephesians 4:2-3. Spanking a child for a sin that he/she committed against you is not being humble, gentle, or patient as the Apostle Paul charged us to be. It is the adult telling the child that the adult is bigger, wiser, and in control. This does not teach or make the child want to repent. It does not make the child want to obey or freely communicate with either the parent or God. It makes children hide their sins in their hearts over repeatedly being punished. People led astray due to spanking and harshness are described as “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed” Ephesians 4:18-19. They cannot see the Truth because their parents gave them an inaccurate view of who God really is.
Young children are quite forgiving in nature. If you’ve ever watched a group of young children playing, one minute they are fighting with each other, and the next minute all is well and they are best friends again. Young children do not hold grudges. Even abused children will often forgive their abusive parents and will ask to go back home with them despite the horrible abuse. Perhaps this is one reason Jesus calls us to be like them in Matthew 18:3. When we spank or treat children in other harsh ways, we are not building them up. Even if we “lovingly” spank them, we still are not building them up in the way God commands us to do so with each other. “ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:29-32.
Fear and anger are emotions that children who are spanked feel regularly. They will often plead with the parent not to spank them. Toddlers will try to shrink away if they think their hands are about to be spanked. I have felt this way, and have observed this in young children. Many people will say, “But he’s perfectly happy after I spank him.” Yes, he/she may appear happy, but young children are not going to tell their parents, “You hurt me and I’m angry, sad, and fearful of you.” They either don’t have the words and/or are afraid of how their parents will react if they say something. As I mentioned above, children are quick to forgive. They are also eager to be back in their parents’ good graces, even briefly. Is being fearful biblical? No! Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to fear the Lord. Some pro-spankers even quote this as a reason why they spank their children. But “fear the Lord” does not mean to be afraid of God. It means to be reverent towards Him. In fact, throughout Scripture we see God and angels of God telling people not to be afraid in their Presences.
“After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, [Or sovereign] your very great reward. [Or shield; / your reward will be very great] ” Genesis 15:1.
“That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham” Genesis 26:24.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9.
“Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” Matthew 28:10.
The Apostle John made it very clear that there should be no fear in love, and that GOD IS LOVE! Love also covers a multitude of sins.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” 1 John 2:16-18.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” 1 Peter 4:8.
Again, I’m not saying that there should never be consequences to children’s behavior as there always are whether positive or negative. What I am saying and what God is saying is that children should be forgiven without having to pay for their sins through punishment. That children should be taught respect and reverence instead of fear. They should be taught love and that God loves them no matter what, and is always ready to forgive them when they come to Him and repent. When raising children we should always “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” Hebrews 10:24. Do spankings really stimulate children onto love and good deeds? From all my research and experiences, the answer is NO! Grace, love, mercy, understanding, respect, forgiveness and discipline DO!
In conclusion, I leave you with the following words from the Apostle Paul:
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ” Colossians 2:8.
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” Colossians 2:13-15.
Let Christ reign in our lives and our children’s lives! Glory to God!
( Continued )
Spanking is NOT God’s Will by Steph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.whynottrainachild.com.