Spanking to Remove Guilt?

Back in October of 2010, Michael Pearl published an article where he claimed that he had never taught that spanking absolves a child of guilt.  He does, however, teach in that same article that they need the spanking in order to absolve themselves of guilt.

It is clear in all my writing that the forgiveness of which I speak is the parent forgiving the child. The two-year-old does not feel guilt before God. When he has willfully transgressed against his parents’ rules and he hides his misdeeds in shame, he has a psychological need to be cleansed of his guilt and restored to fellowship. This the parent can do through the proper application of the rod and reproof.

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that point.  However, in his latest article of Feb 2011, he says that spanking can heal a child’s very soul. I don’t believe that anything or anyone but Jesus can heal our souls.

What a joy to possess the ability to instantly gain compliance and instill discipline in our children. However, the most mysterious, almost miraculous, fruit of the properly applied spanking is its ability to heal the child’s soul and create a sweetness of spirit.

I have here some quotes from other teachers which show this same doctrine about spanking being taught:

Harry Bethel says that spanking is necessary to relieve children of their guilt feelings. I say that we should be teaching our children what the Bible teaches; that Jesus paid for their sins and that they cannot pay for their own sins.

It is very important for parents to understand that children do not have an adequate concept of God and the consequences of their sins. They do, however, have a concept of right and wrong based on the things they have been taught (and they have a conscience). The God-ordained way for children to deal with the guilt feelings that come with disobeying parents is to spank them adequately for their disobedience. By proper punishment with the rod (or belt) the children are relieved of their guilt feelings because justice has been done. If children are not punished for their disobedience then they must carry around the guilt feelings that are associated with wrongdoing. Children who are not punished by spanking carry a great burden of guilt and oftentimes they began to hate their parents and rebel even more in their teenage years. Parents are doing their children an awful disservice when they do not properly mete out corporal punishment for disobedience as clearly set forth in the Word of God.

Daniel Dessinger teaches pretty much the same thing, that spanking relieves the child of guilt and shame and allows the child to pay for her mistake and start over.  How much better to teach her that Jesus paid for her mistakes and allows her to start over!

Spanking is guarding your child’s heart from permanent guilt and shame. Without proper punishment, a child knows she has gotten away with wrongdoing. It eats at her little heart. If unchecked over time, a child will learn to believe that she is a bad person and that there are no consequences. She wants in her heart to be a good person, but doesn’t know how on her own to achieve this. Her heart is actually relieved by receiving a punishment that stings but allows her to start over, having paid for her mistake.

Whether you read the Bible or not, there is a reason why it says, “He that spareth the rod hateth his son.” Your choices as the parent make declarative statements over who your child will be. Don’t spare your child the ability to reset his or her conscience. Don’t rob your child of a clean conscience. Offer your child the opportunity to live free from guilt and shame. Only without a lifetime of suppressed guilt and shame will your precious child ever live to be a well-balanced, fully functioning adult. “

Nicole Munoz also teaches that spanking takes away guilt and gives then a clean slate.  She then goes on to say that we get our guilt taken away by Jesus.  Why is it that we adults get our sins paid for by Jesus, but children have to pay for their own sins?

Spanking is punishment for a crime, payment for a debt. In other words, once paid, they have a clean slate. Spanking takes away the guilt, because the crime has been paid for. Now isn’t that great! One of the common problems in children today is depression. Now I don’t care much for psychologists, but psychologists tell us that depression is really hate turned inward. Why do you think so many children feel hate towards themselves? Guilt. They feel guilty for their actions. They know that they have done wrong and that they deserve a consequence for their actions. Spanking takes away the guilt and gives them a clean slate. It is the same way for us and our salvation. Christ paid the penalty for my sin. Should I wander around the rest of my life burdened with guilt? No. I am now free from the penalty of my sin, Christ having died for me, and now I can live a life that please God. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Now does that sound like a clean slate to you? To me it does! It is the same with our children.

Thank you to Purple Kangaroo for her help in compiling these quotes.

I would also like to add that these teachers are  insinuating that to not use corporal punishment is to disobey the Word of God.  I have many link and articles disproving that claim in my links bar on the right under “Anti Spanking Resources.”


  1. Zooey on February 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    What I find so bizarre about folks claiming that hitting little ones can take away their sins, is that the people making the claims *say* that they are Christians–and then turn around a & completely downplay the Blood of Christ, shed on the cross as the ONLY sacrifice for sin.
    It is as though they have made up their minds beforehand, & only looked to the Scriptures afterward…..and then, only to try to twist & wrest it to *sound* like it agrees with them.

    Thank you, Linda.

  2. Steph on February 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I absolutely HATE how pro-spankers believe God wants children to pay for their sins. Jesus Christ died for all of our sins–including children. Nothing about spanking is biblical–NOTHING! I wish they would stop misusing God’s Word in this way and open their hearts to His Truth!

  3. Brenda King on February 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for this, Linda! In the recent book review that I did of To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, I noted that it says spanking can “absolve” guilt, and “cleanse” and “preserve” a child’s soul. Regardless if he is actually saying it absolves a child of guilt before God or only before a parent, it’s a serious error to attribute such power to a tool which causes pain. And from reading the TTUAC book, I can see how parents could easily get the impression that spanking is the necessary thing that will prompt children to salvation. (!!??) 🙁

    • Hermana Linda on February 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      I totally agree. I have issues with anyone who writes something and then when called on it replies that he didn’t mean what he said and blames the reader for misunderstanding him.

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