Proverbs 23:13, 14 Do not withhold discipline from your children


Do not withhold discipline from your children; if you beat them with a rod, they will not die. If you beat them with the rod, you will save their lives from Sheol.


This passage from Proverbs offers a perfect example of the dangers of taking every word of the Bible literally, without taking into account the collective consciousness out of which it was written. In terms of living a human life, the need to teach and discipline our children to help them learn how to live as spiritual beings in a human experience is clear and important. Metaphysically, the need to discipline our own childish attitudes and impulses is equally clear. At the time this proverb was written, it still seemed reasonable to our limited human consciousness that discipline involve beatings with a rod. It also seemed reasonable at the time to treat women with equal violence and to hold some people in subjugation as slaves, buying and selling them at will.

Blessedly, our collective consciousness has grown since then. Jesus Christ guides us to discard judgmental, fear-based interpretations of scripture and replace them with understandings based on love and on the spiritual truth that every being—of whatever sex or age—is the Christ Presence of God in potential. We love them as we love God, because in loving them we are loving God. So a literal obedience to “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” for example, expands in Jesus' teaching to “love your neighbor, and do good to those who harm you.” In this case, the metaphysical importance of guiding our children remains true; in Christ consciousness, however, we offer that guidance in an energy of unconditional love, not judgment and punishment, because we know that our children are as fully the Christ as we are.