Proverbs 13:24

Passage: 

"He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him" (Proverbs 13:24 RSV).

Question: 

The way it is written in the Bible does not present a very loving view, and I know that there is a deeper meaning behind it.

Comment: 

It does, indeed, seem unloving if we understand 'the rod' to be a form of harsh punishment. Here the 'rod' is a symbol, not of punishment, but of discipline. The implication is that it is not necessarily loving for a parent to allow a child free rein. The spiritual duty of parenthood is to lovingly prepare the child for the challenges of human life—the challenges of being a spiritual being in a mortal experience. The most loving parent is one who accepts that responsibility. The key word here is 'love'—it is not a blanket permission to beat children. It is a recognition that loving discipline is an essential part of our spiritual growth. It's related, I think, to Jesus saying that his new spiritual understanding was not meant to replace the Law, but to guide us beyond its limits. We need the discipline of the Law to teach us before we can explore our own unique Christ Power.

Blessings!

Rev. Ed