Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"I was spanked and I'm OK!" FEAR

Growing up I had an abysmal relationship with my parents. I often fantasized about different ways of being able to live away from them...<evil laughter> ;) To this day I'm confident that they never liked or enjoyed me in any way and that this has left a permanent mark on my daily life.

But, I am able to see things from lots of perspectives...which enables me to be able to see the bad and the good. And, for many years if I was telling someone about my parents...after I'd say what I said above I'd always add the good they also did me. And, that good I felt they'd done me was that they were very consistent in punishing me.

If I did something wrong, there was no "next time you do this..." No. I got paddled. Once I was older if I did wrong I got something taken away...something other than a physical pain was administered swiftly and consistently.

For years I thought that this had done me good...that it had made me grow up to become a good member of society. But, I'm older now...and I understand things better now...and now...I can see that it really did me no good...

I love to watch crime shows and often I think that there's no way I'd kill someone because I'd just know that someone was lurking somewhere nearby and see me. I just know I'd get caught.

That "just knowing" that I'd get caught is something I've always felt confident that my parents instilled in me because I always got caught. I always thought this was a good thing they did for me.

I even had an example of how this helped me in real life. Back when I was just 21 I'd been a mess and struggling to survive on my own and I was approached by someone and offered what to me would have been "a gold mine" to make one simple trip into Philly...with drugs.

As soon as I began to ponder this I just knew I'd get caught. Or, raped. Or something bad would happen. Despite the fact that I was really desperate for money I said no. Fear won.

I think that most parents think that punishment makes their children become morally upstanding people. But, it only makes their children afraid of being punished...and even a dog will alter their behavior to avoid pain.

For Christian parents...I have to ask...is this what you really think God wants instilled in us? A fear of getting caught? My heart wasn't against transporting drugs. My heart was all for giving them a ride to get some money for myself. But, what stopped me was fear of punishment not any moral conviction that this business was bad or that doing illegal things was wrong.

"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chron. 16:9

"After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’" Acts 13:22

Does fear of punishment make me become a person whose heart is completely God's? Does fear of punishment make me become "a person after God's heart?"

My parents were very consistent in administering punishment when I messed up which has made me very afraid of messing up.

But, what if instead of punishment...I'd received discipline?

Jesus had 12 disciples.
They were called disciples because Jesus disciplined them.
How do we see Jesus disciplining the disciples?

What if...every time I'd messed up...my parents had helped me understand what I'd done and...how to fix it? What if they'd shown me how to repair what I'd messed up and move forward in the hope of doing better next time?

"If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

God is not interested in people who are afraid of pain and behave in certain ways so as to avoid it. God is interested in people who desire His heart...

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." 1 John 4:18

If perfect love is filling your child's heart...they will not have fear of you...and vice versa...In my own life I lived in fear of my parents. Was I well behaved? Yes! But, there was never love in our home. To this day I do not have a loving relationship with them.

And, as a parent...I am obligated to discipline my children or else I hate them. The Bible says that "the rod of discipline will drive foolishness far from my child." The rod of discipline is God's rod. It's the rod Jesus used on the disciples. It's simple to see that God's rod is love because God is love and everything He does is in love.

Therefore, very clearly, God's rod would cast out fear not evoke it. And, what does God think of those who fail to see this clear and obvious lesson in scripture??

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse!" Romans 1 

If my form of discipline...my form of exercising the rod of the Lord...is pain...it will evoke fear in my children. God is love. So, if I focus on "fear" in my discipline then there is no love...no God...in that because perfect love (God) casts out fear.  And, calling the "No parent is perfect" card is not a valid excuse...we're at least to strive to be perfect and to be imitators of Christ...

"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matt. 5:48

And, once being made aware of doing something wrong with our children if we don't change...

"Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4:17

You've heard that "the wages of sin is death" right? What kind of death? Death, tearing down, separation...in our relationships and in our lives. The discipline of the Lord leads to building up, to connection...to life!!

Growing up being spanked is growing up learning that God's discipline will hurt me if I mess up...and that is not OK. Growing up being taught to fear discipline is not OK. 


I was spanked...and yes, I'm a safe member of society but not because I was spanked...in spite of it.

Because of being spanked I have been filled with things that are definitely not OK...





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