Another testimony from someone who was “lovingly” spanked/hit by her well meaning Christian parents, and yet, was harmed. Pro-spankers, please do not dismiss these real stories. After all, if spanking is so “godly,” why do you call people harmed by spankings “spoiled brats? Here is Donia’s story:
“This was how I was raised. Spanked ‘biblically’ by loving parents and I turned out fine…..except I didn’t. I lied, I cheated (in our Christian school, no less), I stole, I had sex, even trying smoking and drinking, rebelled against my parents and teachers. And all my good Christian friends did some or all of those things too. This type of parenting changes behavior but doesn’t addressed the heart of what’s behind the behavior. But the biggest risk with this type of parenting is what it does to the child’s spirituality. The style of parenting James Dobson promotes was a huge stumbling block in my relationship with God for most of my life. It’s something I still struggle with but God is healing me. I’ve known people who have completely forsaken Christianity because of those style teachings. God wants us to choose Him but I chose Him because I was too afraid not to and yet I never experienced a real relationship with Him for the same reason. How can you trust someone that you fear will punish you if you do something wrong? Matthew 18:6 says:
‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.’
What about those that cause a child to not only sin but to not love God at all? My parents love me and they love God. I have a great relationship with them and I love them dearly. Imagine if they knew that what they thought was biblical parenting was actually causing a rift between me and God? I’m sure that would feel like a great millstone around any loving, well-meaning parent’s neck, or a great weight on their shoulders, as we typically say today. Not every kid is the same and not every kid will respond like that….but what if your child is one that will?
Ironically, it was a spanking that started me on a path to a real relationship with God. The first time I spanked my daughter, I was immediately and overwhelming convicted of it’s wrongness. But if the Bible tells us to spank, why was the Holy Spirit convicting me that it was wrong? And what did He want me to do instead? Those questions changed my life. God has led me down a path that showed me the inaccuracy of common interpretations of the “rod” verses and He has taught me how to look to the example that Jesus set in parenting, without punishments….because Jesus already took the punishment for everyone’s sins. An article by LR Knost about what the ‘rod’ verses truly mean says it better than I ever could.
Through this process, God has been teaching me about His grace and how He loves His children….me!….and it has made me love Him and desire to serve Him in a way I never experienced before. God gave us, and our children, the gift of free will. He wants us to choose a life with Him, not because we are scared of what will happen if we don’t but because He is so, so deserving of everything we could offer Him and more. What we SHOW our children about Him is so much more important than what we TELL them about Him.” ~ Donia