What does Proverbs 13:24 mean?

What does Proverbs 13:24 mean?

The underlying Biblical truth behind this proverbial advice is that God, as our Heavenly Parent, loves His children (believers) enough to discipline them for misbehavior through the use of chastisement. God’s discipline may not be a “rod”, which is literally a “stick”, but He uses the denial of blessing for the purpose of leading believers to repent of sin and be trained in righteousness (Hebrews 12:5-11). Based on this foundation, we build the framework for godly parenting.

The truth from Proverbs 13:24 means that godly parenting requires discipline, which includes physical pain. This does not mean child abuse, which is a criminal act of inflicting on a child out of anger and malice. Godly discipline can include, however, the use of a “rod”, or a “stick”, which brings temporary pain in association with misbehavior. This is done with an understanding that flaws in “conduct” as a child can develop flaws in “character” when the child grows to be an adult.

Physical discipline is generally accepted in the Christian community as a means of discipline for children who are toddlers, but not yet teens. The physical pain should be administered “promptly” after an act of misbehavior (not an accident) and in such a way as to bring very temporary pain with no lasting physical trauma. And, most importantly, to be done “in love”.

In fact, the verse under consideration declares that such discipline is an expression of “love” instead of “hatred”. Why? Because parents who allow their children to misbehave at will ate not loving them enough to teach them right and wrong. Thus, a lack of discipline is the opposite of love, which is obviously hatred. The godly parent should be heard saying, “I love you enough to teach you right from wrong, so I need to discipline you now.” Children actually appreciate “security” of discipline in that they want Mom and Dad to show them the boundaries they can live within.

May God bless His Word to you as you seek His will in regard to godly parenting!