Proverbs 23:13-14

Withhold Not Correction


1. Here Solomon gives some advice to his sons as they begin to raise their families.

2. This proverb is directed to those parents who might be a bit timid about spanking their child… or perhaps intimidated by today’s culture which looks upon with great suspicion and even contempt, those parents who do spank children.

3. In light of the increasingly strong pressure that our secular culture puts on parents today, this reminder is needed more than ever.

4. Unfortunately, most of the young families with kids aren’t here tonight—nor have they been for the last nine years going through the book of Proverbs as we have studied principles so necessary for raising families.

5. For the most part it has been you grandparents who are hearing these things taught… and you already know this. You’ve already raised your families.

6. This should be a matter of prayer for us all.

7. Twenty years ago in this church young parents with their kids had time to come out to evening service and prayer meeting each week—but not today.

a. And it’s not because parents had MORE time twenty years ago, it’s because they MADE time to come out and pray.

b. It is not a “time” issue, and never has been; it is a “priority” issue.

c. If young parents today think that their families and their kids don’t need as much prayer as families did 20 years ago, they are sadly mistaken.

d. I hate to break the news to you, but the environment for families has NOT been improving in the last few decades. Our culture is in decline—and that has been taking its toll on the churches too… including this one.

e. We thank God for the few young people that see this as a priority and DO come out to prayer meeting faithfully.

f. There is always that glimmer of hope that maybe prayer meeting will not die of attrition… and might even last yet another generation. Let’s pray for that.

Withhold Not Correction

A. Correction

1. The term used here means discipline, punishment, rebuke, warning, instruction, etc.

a. It appears 51 times in the Old Testament, but most of them occur in the book of Proverbs.

b. It appears four times in the first 8 verses of the book.

c. This term for correction includes both verbal correction and corporal punishment.

d. By far, it is most often translated “instruction,” but in this passage, it is clear that the author had corporal punishment in mind because he mentions the rod.

e. Correction in this passage comes in the form of words of rebuke and then the rod.

2. The Bible is pretty clear on this issue: the rod is a good teacher and it corrects behavior. In other words, corporal punishment works.

3. The book of Proverbs deals with this subject from two angles: from the perspective of the one receiving the “correction” and the one giving it.

a. Those giving correction desire a proper response to it:
• My son, hear the instruction of thy father (1:8)
• My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction (3:11)
• Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father (4:1)
• Take fast hold of instruction; (4:13)
• Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. (8:33)
• A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke. (13:1)
• Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. (19:20)

b. Those receiving correction usually don’t like it.
• How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof (5:12)
• A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: (15:5)
• Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die. (15:10)
• He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul. (15:33)
• Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction.

c. In the book of Proverbs, there is an ongoing tension between the one giving the correction (instruction) and the one receiving the instruction.

d. The father giving the correction desperately wants his son to respond in obedience and submission. The father knows the long lasting consequences of NOT following such correction.

e. The son hearing the correction often rebels, grumbles, and resists correction. (What does he know anyway? He’s old! Life is different in our generation! All my friends do it so it must be ok!)

f. The reason is obvious: because it reflects reality.

g. It is the nature of children to NOT want to listen when they are being rebuked or corrected.

h. It is also human nature for those who have learned the lessons the hard way to want to impart those instructions to their children.

i. So the tension continues from Solomon’s days to ours. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

B. Withhold Not

1. Withhold: Defined: hold back; keep back; refrain; restrain.

2. Solomon’s command to parents is that they NOT hold back the correction—especially the kind that comes in the form of a rod—corporal punishment.

3. There are several reasons for this command:

4. First of all, there is human nature.

a. It is human nature for a parent to want to hold back on spanking their kids. They hate to see their child suffer or be in pain.

b. This is universal and it has not changed over the centuries.

c. It is human nature for parents to try to shelter their children from anything that is hurtful to them.

d. It hurts parent to see their child cry. It is painful for parents to have to use the rod.

e. It is much easier to hold back.

f. But Solomon warns such parents NOT to hold back because of their crying… and the emotional effect their crying has on you.
• “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Prov.19:18)
• Parents are reluctant to spank their children. They need to be told—and reminded of how needful it is.
• Too often parents let sentiment rule over reason in this matter.

g. To correct the issue of parental sentiment causing discipline to be withheld, Solomon reminds his readers about the nature of true, Biblical LOVE:
• He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Prov. 13:24)
• Thus, don’t use sentimental “love” as an excuse NOT to spank your child.
• True, Biblical love ought to be the motivation FOR spanking your child!
• True love for a child will look beyond the immediate and see the long range good that results from discipline.
• Withholding the rod is not love. It is called “hatred” in this passage.
• Some parents withhold spanking because they think it is cruel. God charges the one who does NOT spank with cruelty. It is hatred NOT to spank.
• Think about that, parents.
• If a parent withholds spanking because it hurts the parents too much to hear his son cry, that is not love—it’s cruelty.
• That is the ultimate in selfishness. You are only thinking of yourself: it hurts ME to spank him… it’s too hard for ME to spank him… it breaks MY heart to hear him cry. That is the opposite of Biblical love. (It is called hatred here.)
• If you really love your child, you will chasten him “betimes” (early—right when he needs it.)

h. It is also human nature to excuse their child’s behavior.
• For example, a cute little child demonstrates rebellion and talks back to his parents. What kind of a response does he get? His parents laugh or try to hide their smiles… and say, “Isn’t he cute?” The child learns that rebellion is cute and he can get away with it.
• Other forms of rebellion are excused by saying, “It’s not that bad. All kids do that.”
• Other parents might excuse it by saying, “Just leave him alone and he’ll grow out of that phase.”

i. Solomon reminds parents to spank their children when needed because it is human nature to allow sentiment to rule out spanking when spanking is needed.

5. Secondly, there is culture.

a. Corporal punishment used to be part of the culture in this country.

b. There was a time when the Bible was studied—even in public schools.

c. Nobody questioned the validity and need for parents to spank their children.

d. It was an integral part of our culture and fully supported by society at large. Society encouraged parents to spank their children in order to improve their behavior.

e. But today, it is increasingly being considered to be barbaric and medieval by our secular society. It is a throwback to the dark ages in their minds.

f. The world sees spanking as cruel. Their studies say that spanking is harmful to children. It will damage them for life and make them violent. (Actually the opposite is true.)

g. This works AGAINST young parents today.

h. That is why young parents need to get their teaching on such matters not from the most recent study from Harvard, but rather from the good old-fashioned Bible.

i. If you are feeding your minds with the information from the latest study on human behavior from Harvard or Yale, or from the latest book on humanistic psychology, then your minds are being conformed to the world… and the world is enmity with God.

j. Another problem related to this is that young families don’t have to hear this kind of anti-spanking sentiment from humanistic psychology. It has been popular in the last few decades to merge together humanistic psychology with the Bible. Be careful what you read. Christian psychology isn’t always purely Christian.

k. It seems that the whole world system is working against this important Biblical principle on child rearing.

l. And this too works against young parents today.

m. To correct the issue of parents withholding correction because their minds have been conformed to the thinking of the world, Solomon reminds his readers of the VALUE of such correction:
• Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Prov. 22:15)
» No, spanking will not harm your son. It is GOOD for him.
» It will correct bad behavior. It will drive folly from him.
» Thus, the issue for parents today is this: who do you believe? The latest study from Yale or the Word of God?
» Who are you going to believe, Solomon or Dr. Phil?
» What a parent believes will affect how he behaves and how he brings up his children.
• “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Prov.29:15)
» Spanking is not bad for your children. It is good for them. It brings wisdom.
» Also, perhaps mothers who are too tender to spank their child and allow their sentiments to cause them to withhold correction should consider what emotions they might be feeling down the road a piece when their child is a teenager: SHAME!
» In that day, the undisciplined child may have to be corrected by a correctional institution—the county jail. That brings shame to the mother.
» Solomon brings it up here not to shame the mother, but to warn her lest be BECOME ashamed later on.
» This is designed to be preventative medicine for parents.
• “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (Prov. 29:17)
» The emotion driven mother who is too tender to spank little Jr. for bad behavior, might withhold the rod because of her emotions can’t bear it.
» You have a choice: spare your emotions in the immediate, withhold correction and experience SHAME later on.
» Or, you pray for temperance (fruit of the Spirit) get your emotions under control, and spank your child today, knowing that later on in life—you can experience rest and a delight to your soul the rest of your life.
» That is a choice parents need to make.
• Sadly, I have heard even Christian parents speak against spanking as if it were bad for their children. Some Christian parents don’t spank.
• They bought the lie presented to them by the world. Their minds were conformed to the world.
• That parent cannot possibly say that he or she is bringing up their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord if they refuse to follow the admonition of the Lord.
• The Bible clearly FORBIDS parents from withholding the rod.
• Just because some people go overboard in one direction and engage in child brutality is no excuse for going overboard in the other direction and withholding the rod.
• Don’t worry that spanking is harming them or making them violent. Spanking is good for them and will teach them self discipline so that later on in life they DON’T become violent.

6. Thus, the temptation to withhold correction comes from within (human nature) and without (the world system).

a. Parents have always been tempted to let sentiment rule… and avoid spanking.

b. But years ago, even though parents were tempted from within to withhold spanking, there was at least the outward support and approval for it from society.

c. Parents today need to hear this warning more than ever.

d. And they need to be reminded that it is a “thus saith the Lord” and I hope that carries more weight with the Christian parent than a “thus saith Oprah or Dr. Phil.”

7. Next, Solomon gives two reasons not to withhold correction—both a negative and a positive reason.