Archive for category Spiritual Life

Spare the “Rod,” Spoil the Child?

The term “scepter” (or as it is often translated “rod”) is used in Proverbs 22:15, which I think brings a great deal of clarity to that often abused passage. The “rod” is the scepter of the household, of the family. There are three elements bound up in this scepter imagery: authority, protection/favor, and punishment. So, the foolishness bound up in the nature of a child will need to encounter all three elements from his/her parents. Discipline is not a straight shot to punishment. It could be the very clear verbal or illustrative reminder of who is in charge. Young children often threaten to “run away” for various absurd reasons. A wise parent can use such an opportunity to authoritatively and creatively remind the child of the benevolence the child experiences as a member of the household contrasted to the harsh realities outside of that household. It could be an act of favor or benevolence or protection that demonstrates the parent’s authority to the child. And of course, punishment for transgression against the parents and/or family is a third alternative. It should be observed that this punishment is reserved for the wicked, lawless, hated, dangerous, traitorous enemy to a king and a nation. Therefore, this use of the scepter in the household should be reserved for the severest of cases. In this text, a genitive modifies the scepter, which means, “the act of providing guidance for responsible living, upbringing, training, instruction.” Therefore, the range of meaning for scepter along with the genitive modifier “instruction” paints a very helpful and clear picture that it is authoritative instruction with a use of benevolent protection and a very reserved use of severe punishment that corrects the folly bound up in a child’s heart. Ephesians 6:4 makes even more sense in light of this exegesis. A lack of careful instruction may provoke anger from the child toward the parent, and as Col. 3:21 teaches, thoughtless, reactionary parental authority may lead to discouraged and disheartened children.

To answer the question in the title of this post—do we spoil the child if we spare the rod? When the rod is properly understood in its biblical context and range of meaning as authoritative distribution of benevolent protection and reserved punishment with the aim of instruction, the “rod” is key to freeing a child’s heart from folly. Don’t spoil your calling as a parent or your child!

For a good read on parenting, check out Paul Tripp’s book Parenting.

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Our Union with Christ: A Shelter for the Sheltering (Col. 2:8–10)

RJH on Colossians 2:8–10

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Our Union with Christ: A Shelter for the Sheltering (Col. 2:6–7)

RJH on Colossians 2:6–7

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Our Union with Christ: A Shelter for the Sheltering (Col. 2:1-5)

RJH on Colossians 2:1–5

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Our Union with Christ: A Shelter for the Sheltering (Col. 1:24–29)

RJH on Colossians 1:24–29

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Our Union with Christ: A Shelter for the Sheltering (Col. 1:21–23)

RJH on Colossians 1:21–23

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Our Union with Christ: A Shelter for the Sheltering (Col. 1:15–20)

RJH on Colossians 1:15–20

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Our Union with Christ: A Shelter for the Sheltering (Col. 1:1–8)

Rex J. Howe on Colossians 1:1–8

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Voicing Your Brand: Pump the Hope

Pump the hope

Against the futility;

Generate a friction

That causes transformation.

An automobile’s brake system uses friction to create a good, life-changing, life-saving result. Your foot pumps the pedal. The fluid runs to the calipers and cylinders, putting pressure on the pads and shoes. The pads and shoes press into the rotors and drums. You stop. “Friction” is a word that typically isn’t associated with “good.” Two objects pressing in, rubbing against one another, temperature rising, sparks flying.

Frustration in life is a reality. We encounter unexpected dead ends. We chase wisdom and knowledge. We explore pleasures. We exert maximum effort to achieve and accomplish in our careers. We invest in the stuff of eternal value—people. Yet, our wisdom finds a ceiling. Our pleasures stop satisfying. The fruit of our labor may come too late to enjoy, and people, well, they may never change. Many of us have touched the edge of that shadowy cliff we call despair. Sadly, some embrace it.

How do we live in concert with the reality of futility? You have to pump the hope against the frustrations. You have to generate a friction. Sparks need to fly! Pump hope against the ceiling of your wisdom, and find a transformed skill in living. Pump hope into even the littlest joys of life to find a transformed contentment. Pump hope into that career and flourish where you are. Pump hope into people, and behold, the image of God will spring to new life. Pump the hope, and step away from that shadowy precipice.

Pump the hope

Against the futility;

Generate a friction

That causes transformation.

As I consider voice talent, I have a voice, and I want it to pump the hope—into my own life and overflow into the lives of others. My talents—writing, speaking—seem to max out sometimes and fall short at other times. Yet, I am committed to pressing hope into my craft as a communicator, generating a friction that transforms.

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Signs of Life Episode 6: Pay Phone

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