Clarifying Respect And Age

A while ago I wrote a post in which I stated that I don’t believe people should be respected solely because they are older and that true respect is mutual.

Beka from “Climb A Tree With Me” created this meme from that blog post.

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Some people had a hard time with this, so let me see if I can explain. I know not everyone will agree with me because we still live in an age where “respect your elders” is shoved down our throats from birth and if children dare assert themselves in a way that is deemed “disrespectful” to their elders, they are punished.

If you spend time reading my blog and book and other social media outlets, you know that I am a huge advocate for respecting everyone from conception to death. I don’t see age as a requirement for automatic respect. Everyone deserves basic respect, kindness, and courtesy.

The problem is that some people abuse their position as an authority figure or as an older adult to demand respect. As I pointed out in my blog post to which I linked at the beginning of this post, this often occurs in the parent-child relationship.  The parent demands respect from the child, but doesn’t treat the child with the same respect.

A child who is not raised with respect will not respect the parent.  He/she fears the parent and then becomes rebellious and/or resentful.  How can we expect children to respect us when we treat them as second-class citizens?

Childism is alive and well in our society. Here’s the definition of childism:

“Childism is defined as ‘a prejudice against children on the ground of a belief that they are property and can (or even should) be controlled, enslaved, or removed to serve adult needs'” (Gold, 2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-in-mind/201201/understanding-childism-are-we-prejudiced-against-children).

This comes in the form of abortion, cry-it-out, demanding things from children that they are incapable of doing, yelling at them, saying harsh things to them, shaming them, spanking/hitting, grounding them, not listening to them, not taking them seriously, and just acting as if they are far below us.

The worst thing is that children have no voice!  Every other minority group has formed groups to give them a voice and change the way they are perceived and treated, albeit we have a long way to go in how minorities are perceived and treated in this world, but at least they have a voice.

Since children don’t have a voice, it’s up to people who see them as the beautiful human beings that they are to speak up for them. As someone who wasn’t always treated with respect by my elders, I am even more passionate about this. And due to my severe cerebral palsy, I still often get patronized and disrespected by adults of every age.

And, as I pointed out in my original post about this, sometimes disrespect continues in family relationships as the stronger one tries to bully, shame, and manipulate the “weaker” one.  When this happens, the most respectful thing to do is to set boundaries and/or walk away.  I have had to do this many times throughout my adulthood.

Unfortunately, children cannot “just walk away” or set boundaries.  Children are stuck in that relationship until they are adults.  This is not fair.

Children are born social beings who love unconditionally!  They are just learning about everything and we are their teachers. We teach respect by being respectful to them.  This does not mean we don’t set limits and boundaries or don’t discipline them.  It means we discipline them without punishing them and without being harsh.

Yes, everyone deserves respect. The elderly deserve respect. But just because we are a certain age doesn’t give us the right to demand and force respect. Respect is earned by being respectful and apologizing when we mess up.  

This world is becoming less and less respectful. It’s not because we’re not “disciplining aka punishing” children, it’s because we are treating them with less respect.  

Respectful children have been raised with true respect, and thus, offer true respect to their elders.

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Goodbye My Sweet Boy. Hello Again Grief, Darkness, and Hurt.

Please Note: I usually have my husband edit every post I write to catch grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors that I have missed.  Due to this post being so emotionally charged, I’m not having him edit this.  Please forgive any mistakes that I didn’t catch.  Thank you so much!

Once again my husband and I find ourselves in the throws of deep grief.  On July 5, 2017, our precious kitty, YP,  crossed the rainbow bridge and into Heaven. This is the second time we’ve had to help a kitty go to Heaven.  For us, it’s the closest thing to losing a child.

He was only 11 years old but had chronic kidney disease and bowel disease. We gave him the best care until he was ready to fly.

YP was relatively calm going to the vet. Usually he raises cain. He meowed some but once we got there, he got on my lap and gave me the sweetest look to say, “it’s ok, Mommy. I will be ok.” Just full of love. He looked at Daddy full of love and he didn’t fight the process much either. He was sedated and responsive to us until the final shot.  The tech knows us and him and gave us plenty of time. I fought it more than him. He was ready for Heaven. I was so strong. We both cried and have been, but the Holy Spirit wanted me to hold him throughout the process on his blanket and the tech put his mouse toy between his front paws so he held it. I held him on my lap and Daddy cradled his head in his hand. Crap, more crying. Anyway he made the transition peacefully with us loving him and talking to him the whole time. Then I held him for a bit after he was in Heaven. My husband couldn’t look anymore but I just couldn’t give him up right away. 

We’ve cried so much and this hurts. I am being honest with God which means cussing sometimes, but I believe that He wants us to be real with Him instead of the fake, legalistic prayer.  I honestly don’t know what I believe about God right now.  I know God is love, but I really don’t understand how He is making us go through 3 years of grief.

My mother-in-law went Home August 8, 2015.  My grandpa went Home May 2, 2016.  And then to lose our precious kitty…How much grief can we go through.  Yet, we do feel “the peace of God that transcends all understanding.”

I know some Christians don’t believe animals go to Heaven, but there’s Biblical and spiritual evidence for animals going to Heaven.  We’re very comforted by this fact.

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10, NASB).

“The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord” (Isaiah 65:25, ESV).

“The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young” (Psalm 84:3, NASB).

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place and Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
The Throne and Worship of the Creator
Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever” (Revelation 4:4-9).

Yes, animals go to Heaven!

I know some people don’t understand the deep love for our animals.  They truly are like our children.  But we’re thankful for the people who truly understand this grief!

Before I end with YP’s obituary, I want to give a couple pointers for helping children grieve for animals.

  1.  Explain that their animal’s body is very sick and God needs him/her in Heaven now.
  2. Avoid using terms such as “putting Fluffy to sleep,” “Scruffy couldn’t wake up.” as these are frightening for young children as they may think that they will die in their sleep too.
  3. Talk about your favorite memories together. Allow for lots of tears.
  4. Create pictures, look at pictures, and create a memorial for your pet.
  5. Remember, losing a pet is like losing any human family member. It takes time to grieve!  Don’t replace the pet right away.

YP’s obituary
July 4, 2006-July 5, 2017

Dear YP,

We love you so much. You are always going to be my baby boy, just like Sara is my little girl in Heaven. You gave us so much joy and love. We all miss you.

We’ll never forget the first time we met you at the shelter.  You had been sick with a cold and they finally let you out of isolation and you saw us and you marched across the counter into our arms and hearts.  You “helped” Daddy fill out paperwork and pay your adoption fee by batting and biting at the pen and money.

When we brought you and your “sister” home after you guys were spayed and neutered, you hid behind the toilet and meowed.  Daddy told you that “You were such a good boy.”  You absolutely loved that saying!  You and I bonded the next day.

We miss how you would play games and get in the box in the kitchen, try to open the kitchen cabinets, get in the bathroom closet, jump on the microwave, run in Daddy’s radio shack. You also jumped into the bathroom window. You loved having us playfully “scold” you.

We miss how you would jump on Daddy’s shoulder and climb down into his lap. Or, try to climb up to his shoulders. We miss how you would jump ontop of my wheelchair and down to my tray to rub and snuggle with me. Sometimes when I was trying to work on research, you would lay right on the books. You thought you were really “helping.” Oh how I loved to put my ear against your side and listen to your loud purring.

Whenever you wanted Daddy to pick you up off something, you would hold out your little front paw so Daddy could pick you up.  You would meow at us if we ignored you.

We miss how you would scramble with toys or just scramble on our bed. We miss how you would bat at our hands and bite playfully. You tried not to bite too hard but sometimes you would out of excitement.

We miss how you would get between Daddy and his chair and lay upside down and bat at Daddy.

Your head was like a fist and you would head butt us.  When you were hungry, you would reach up at Daddy’s mouth then watch and head butt his mouth until he said, “Arrrr arrreee are you getting hungry?”  You would purr loud, like a decelerating Harley-Davidson motorcycle out of your nose and meow and shake your tail.  You would go see what you and your sister were having and then go tell her by kissing and head butting her.  She would follow you in and you would get so excited that she was coming.

Another thing you would do when you were hungry and Daddy was wearing shorts was to nip his legs while he fixed food for you and Patches.  When we would eat chicken or turkey, you would be so interested and we’d have to push you gently away.

We miss you racing around the house. From the hallway you would run and jump up on the couch, down to the ottoman, race up the cat perch, back down and go behind the entertainment center and back out to the hallway. You would meow loudly!

With your mouse, every night when I would take my asthma treatment, you would carry your mouse around and yowl at the top of your lungs.  The first time you did this I thought the mouse was stuck in your mouth.  Then being a “boy,” despite being neutered, you would bite your “sister’s” neck, making her mad.  We’d yell at you to leave your sister alone.

Your sister and you would snuggle together and sleep together and play until you would get too excited and rough.  She misses you so much!

You’d push paper bags around and hide under them with your face poking out.

Whenever you would get playful, you would whip your head around.  It was hilarious!

You would run into your box and Daddy would scratch the box and you would flip around and bat at him.

You hated getting wet and once you reached up on the table, grabbed the placemat, pulling it off the table with Daddy’s beer spilling all over you. Daddy had to dry you off with a towel.

You would shake if you thought Daddy got you wet.  You loved listening to water run in the pipe in the wall.

You and your sister climbed curtains, a wall hanging, and the Christmas tree when you were kittens.

We miss you snuggling with us in bed. I miss (kinda 😊) you scratching my bed by my head in the morning and playing under the bed meowing while I tried to sleep.

I miss holding you in my lap and watching tv with my Hello Kitty snuggie on. You couldn’t wait for Daddy to get it completely on before you would climb in my lap.

After showering, you would ride on my arm because you would try to climb around the back of my wheelchair but Daddy didn’t want you to fall so he’d push you back on my tray and you would sit on my arm and ride along.

You loved the special strings that held my slippers on and would play tug of war with Daddy.  There was also a string in the bedroom that you would lay on Daddy’s lap and play with, biting the knot.

You loved to rough house with Daddy.

You loved to be held and carried around.

You came when called and followed Daddy around the house like a dog.

You would jump on the washer and rubbed the cabinets with both sides of your face while Daddy was in there. You loved to get in the dryer and Daddy always had to make sure you and Patches were out here before starting the dryer.

You loved to jump up on the cabinets above the washer and dryer and when you would jump down, it would be really loud.

You and Patches begged for treats.

When it stormed, you would hide in the hallway because that’s where we go for tornado warnings. We taught you well.

You loved blankets and you and Patches wanted the couch back after I would lie down. You both would lie with me or fight over me on the couch.  You also would sniff the back of the couch despite nothing changing. You often acted like you were seeing things for the first time.

You would get an itch somewhere but you would itch in mid-air.

You had short, pokey legs and walked like a bulldog.  Those pokey legs were heavy when you walked across me in bed.  You had a wimpy meow for being such a “tough looking cat.”

When Daddy would walk through the kitchen, you would speed up to meet him to get lovin’.

When we’d eat, you would jump on Daddy’s shoulder and sometimes sit with your butt on his neck and front paws on the chair. You would also walk across Daddy and the chair with half of your paws on the chair and half on Daddy. Then you would jump on my chair and get on the table so we’d playfully scold you.

You thought sitting on your hind legs and pawing the door opened it.  And you’d run into our room at night just so Daddy would put you out.

You always greeted us when we got home but I had to be with Daddy or you wouldn’t bother.

You slept in my wheelchair at night.

You loved watching nature on tv and tried to “get” the butterfly.

You loved laying in your bed by the sliding door in the sun.

Oh YP, life without you is so hard!  You gave nothing but love!

Have fun in Heaven. Don’t jump on Mom(my mother-in-law) Grandpa, or Jesus’ back too much, you goofy boy. We love you, YP.

~Mommy, Daddy, and Patches 💕🌈💜😢😔

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All your nicknames.
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Memorial tattoo

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My Child Abuse Awareness Ribbon Tattoo

About a week ago I got my beautiful child abuse awareness ribbon tattoo.  It came out so much better than I imagined!

It’s serious but I wanted something to give hope and the flowers do just that!  I honestly think it’s the best child abuse awareness tattoo I have ever seen.  I’m very grateful to my tattoo artist for coming up with it!  Please see my other tattoo posts on my getting tattoos with my severe cerebral palsy.

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Child abuse is 100% preventable!  Sadly, many pro-spanking advocates try to claim that spankings prevent abuse but any type of hitting is abuse because it leaves marks that are not always visible.  Plus, if one believes she/he can inflict pain on another human being, he/she will.

Research also shows that spankings usually increase in intensity, putting the child at a higher risk of being abused.

Then there’s the emotional and verbal abuse that often goes with the physical abuse, like telling the child that “you made me do it.”  Or that “you deserve it.”  Basically putting the child down in any way is verbal and emotional abuse.  The child never makes one do anything.  This is victim blaming.

Finally, there’s sexual abuse and sometimes this occurs alone or with the physical abuse because, for some, spanking children is sexually arousing which is absolutely disgusting.  

I believe that we have to educate people to get them to see that children are unique people. Understanding child development is crucial for stopping child abuse. And allowing corporal punishment with children does not decrease child abuse!  And one should never say he/she is against child abuse when he/she is advocating for corporal punishment.

It shouldn’t matter how old or big someone is, he/she should be protected from having harm inflicted on him/her by another person. It should not be left up to parents concerning how much pain can be inflicted on their children because “children can be subjected to an incredible amount of pain and suffering before our perception of parental prerogative changes to one of parental abuse” (Quinn, 1988, p.19).”

While April is child abuse awareness month, every day children are being abused by the very people who are supposed to care for them.  I got my child abuse awareness ribbon tattoo to remind myself why I keep fighting for children’s rights even though it doesn’t always feel like I’m making a difference. It will also make the public aware of child abuse all year long.

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Reference:Quinn, P. E. (1988). Spare the Rod. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Connection Leads To Independence

I recently read this article and it made so much sense.  So many times our children act up because they are feeling disconnected from us.  In this technological age, we are usually attached to a screen most of the day.  Sadly, this is disconnecting us from each other more often than not.

A few of my friends have grown children who have moved out.  They truly enjoy being with their children and always made time for them.  I also know of grown children who are not doing as well because they were harshly parented and they knew the parents didn’t always want to deal with them.

Starting at birth, children are extremely sensitive to our vibes.  They know if you don’t want to be with them.  I have observed many times that children who have parents who do their best to remain connected with their children and truly want to be with the children have more independent children.

Why?  Because when children get their fill of our love and attention, they are free to enjoy times when we aren’t able to be one-on-one with them.  They know that if they need us, we’ll be there.

The Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) Approach recommends starting this deep connection at birth.  Infants require so much care that we should be using this time to really connect with them instead of rushing through daily care activities.  This means being fully present with the infant during changing diapers and clothes, feedings, bathing, and nap time and bedtime routines.  When we are fully present, we are making deep connections with the child that fill their social-emotional needs.  Then they can do brief sessions of independent play more easily.

As infants become toddlers and preschoolers, many outbursts and meltdowns have their roots based upon feeling connected with us.  Spending at least 15 minutes twice a day one-on-one with the child can help fill his/her connection bucket.  And in situations where we can’t be fully present with them, doing simple things such as making eye contact, smiling at them, touching them, nodding to acknowledge them can make a huge difference in their behavior.

I know pro-spankers and other people who believe in harsh parenting will ask, “Doesn’t this make them more clingy?”  What these people fail to understand is that forcing children to be independent before they are ready is what makes them “clingy.”  Sure, you can spank/hit them to teach them not to “bug” you when you don’t want them to, but you’re actually breaking connection which usually backfires.  Even if they don’t bother you, they will do things that are wrong just to get attention from someone.

Then when they are adults, they may have trouble with their relationships.  If they’re never taught how to truly connect with others then it will hurt them throughout their lives.

I love parents who are able to be there for their children even when they are socializing with adults.  For example, at a party I witnessed a mother who was fully engaged with her adult friends but the minute she thought she heard a child say, “Mom,” she paused to see if the children were in need.  The children played with each other as well as came in with the adults without being rude.  They didn’t interrupt.  They were very respectful.

 I think part of the “problem” with “today’s children” is that they are not getting the connection they need.  Then they get punished for acting up.  We need to put down the screens and the demands of life and do our best to connect with our children.

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Guest Post: Did Having Children With Autism Ruin My Life? By Daniel Smith

Note: Daniel is a wonderful Christian gentle parent.  This post really touched me as I have severe cerebral palsy and I always really appreciate when parents let people know that having children with disabilities is tough, but also very rewarding!

Going to tackle a tough question that comes up from time to time.

Has having children with autism ruined my life?  Is this the worst thing that could ever happen?

The answer is an emphatic no!

Aizen’s needs in particular have posed some tremendous challenges to us to understand and learn — and honestly there would have been a time I may have answered yes to this question. Age five, before we were getting support and help, was a particularly rough time because he was biting and aggressive and we didn’t know what to do. He also wasn’t talking which made things extra challenging.

But did it ruin my life?  No — I have had to grow significantly and I had a lot to learn. I have gained skills, understanding, empathy, and knowledge I would never have gained otherwise. Aizen has shown me the world in a way I would never have observed it without him. He has changed the way I perceive behaviours in other people and taught me patience and empathy in stressful situations.

Has this ruined my life?  I’d say the opposite — what I have gained would be enhancements. I am also a bereaved parent and I stress that Aizen is alive, gaining skills, observing and experiencing the world — he’s not broken, damaged, a burden or a problem. The worst thing that can happen — and I know from experience — is your child passing away and having plan their funeral.

He’s a good polite kid who has worked extremely hard for every skill he has acquired — he’s someone who should be celebrated.

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Love Should Always Triumph Over Manipulation

 

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I recently heard something similar to this quote, “Love should always triumph over manipulation,” on a television show and it spoke to me. Unfortunately, manipulation triumphs more than love does in the parent-child relationship.

It’s not always a conscious thing, though, sometimes it is. We unknowingly usually start manipulating children at birth by not respecting their bodies and feelings.  We force them to do things that their bodies are not yet ready to do such as “tummy time” or propping them up.  This is so uncomfortable.

We make them stand before they can. We try to quiet their cries by shushing them, distracting them with a toy in front of their faces, and/or leave them to cry-it-out.

As they grow, we try to force our own agendas onto them even more.  When they are acting their ages or doing something that is developmentally appropriate, we punish them.  We spank/hit, give time-outs, and arbitrarily take things away.

This is all manipulation. Young children are often accused of trying to manipulate their parents but they are not able to think that far ahead. They’re always in the present.  People who tell parents that children manipulate are usually extremely manipulative.

This can continue into adulthood.  But love should triumph over manipulation. Love should think of the other person and do what is best for them. This does not mean letting people of any age walk all over us!  It should mean putting others first as God wants us to do.

True love accepts all, puts others first, tries not to hurt people, tries to have empathy, and gently corrects when appropriate.

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I don’t know who’s quote this is but it is spot on!

A Mishmash Of Thoughts

This post may be all over the place but it’s based on things I have experienced this week. It was a rough week as May 2nd was the one year anniversary of my dear grandpa going Home. I have really struggled with his passing. He and I were extremely close and he was a wonderful grandfather who never intentionally hurt me.

Since my family has not had any “official” services for him yet and I won’t be able to go to them due to financial issues and a cat who has chronic diseases and is not yet ready to die, I had my own private funeral service on Tuesday May 2nd that included getting a beautiful tattoo.

I kept thinking “goodbye grandpa” during the tattoo which is on my upper right arm.  The tattoo came out perfectly!   Parts of it hurt like heck as the inside of one’s arm is much more sensitive, but my tattoo artist and my husband encouraged me during the tough parts and I breathed and laughed my way through it.  I cried when it was done.

I’m not letting go but I finally feel so at peace that he is physically gone. I miss him and my mother-in-law so much, but I just couldn’t get comfortable with Grandpa being gone until until I got this memorial tattoo.  Plus, he deserved a detailed tattoo. I LOVE my first tattoo which is for him but I was feeling guilty that everybody else has detailed tattoos and he didn’t. So now that I know I can get detailed tattoos, I’m happy I got one for him and the jacket that was his. She made it look like a watercolor.

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However, I have been experiencing some things that prove how important respect is. I haven’t felt very respected and that has made me lash out. I didn’t repay evil for evil, but I could have done better.

When adults and children don’t feel respected and heard, it makes them angry. That’s why children usually act out.  They need connections and respect.  But it is so hard when you’re doing your best to be respectful and the other person doesn’t respect you. Children don’t mean to be disrespectful as they are still learning how to respect.  But adults should know better.

I also feel like, based on my own experiences as well as observations, people of all ages tend to want to control and manipulate others that they feel are weaker.  These people usually have emotional problems that make them need to feel powerful and in control by manipulating the weaker person.

We see this all the time with the parent-child dyad. The parent finally has someone they can control and manipulate after they were controlled and manipulated as children. They may be doing it unconsciously, but they do it nonetheless.  Others are fully aware of what they are doing.

But another group that is often controlled and manipulated, sometimes even by family, are people with disabilities.  I have severe cerebral palsy and I often feel like people don’t respect me. No matter how old I get, I often get treated as a child.  Of course, anyone who knows my story knows that I was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by my late dad. I was also emotionally abused by my school aide.

In addition to dealing the my grief of losing my mother-in-law and grandpa as well as dealing with my beloved kitty going downhill and other life stresses, I have felt very disrespected.  Trying to have boundaries and protect myself while remaining Christ-like is not easy.

Of course, this makes me think of children. We need to respect their personal boundaries as we set our own boundaries with them. It is such a helpless feeling knowing that someone you love is trying to control, manipulate, and make you feel guilty for something that you didn’t do. I’m 35 and I’m really struggling with it and I don’t always handle it as well as I should.  It’s no wonder that children have meltdowns and anxiety and feel so out of control when we try to control, manipulate, and shame them. I can relate so much to the feelings children have.

I am at peace with the loss of my grandpa and I am thankful for that. At the same time, it comes to light that we all need to be respected by the people we love no matter what our age is. I don’t believe that elders deserve respect just because they are older.  I believe respect is earned. It must be mutual. It cannot be forced. If it is forced, it leads to strong resentment.

I guess that is my mishmash of thoughts. I hope it helps someone else dealing with similar things. I also hope it helps parents to see how important it is to respect their children. Only through respecting our children will they learn to respect others.

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Should We Take The Bible Literally?

 

Once again I found myself dealing with a Christian pro-spanker that insists that the “rod verses” in the book of Proverbs must be taken literally.  Yet, when I asked the following questions, the pro-spanker couldn’t answer:

*If we must spank/hit our children then shouldn’t we also stone people, cut off body parts, pluck eyes out?

*And what about slavery?  Shouldn’t we continue to keep slaves?

*Shouldn’t we also sacrifice animals for our sins?

People pick and choose what to take literally. It makes no sense to take a few verses literally to justify spanking/hitting children but not other harsh verses.

The Bible was written for us, not to us. As I have said many times, we must seek to understand the historical and cultural context of Scripture.  We must also study the original languages of the Bible to truly understand what it’s saying and how to apply it to us.

Not every Scripture is meant to be directly applied to us!  We are to learn from all Scripture, but because of what Jesus did on the cross, we do not need to directly apply every single Scripture to our lives.  To do so is to downplay what Jesus did for all of humanity on the cross!

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14, NASB).

After a while, the pro-spanker tried to answer the questions above by saying that we no longer live under the Law, but rather, we live under grace.

Exactly!  And this grace applies to children as well.  Jesus freed us from the Law.

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).

When we spank, we are parenting under the Law. We are not accepting the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus. Jesus died for us. He was beaten to a bloody pulp for us. Why do we feel we must beat, spank, and hit our young children who do not understand sin nor physical punishment?

“In regard to evil be infants” (1 Corinthians 14:20b).

If we are to interpret all of the “rod” verses that appear to advocate spanking/hitting children with a large weapon with spikes on it literally, then we must take all of the other harsh verses in the Bible literally.  Who are we to apply only a handful of verses to inflict pain on children but not do everything else in the Bible?

After all, the Bible also says:

“Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts” (Proverbs 20:30, NASB).

I truly do not believe that God wanted us to take the entire Bible literally.  Rather, we are to see how God redeemed His people.  The Bible is meant to be read in a redemption manner.

For more information about how to interpret the “rod verses” in Proverbs, please click here.

Finally, as Christ-followers should easily realize that all the verses telling us to be kind, merciful, graceful, gentle, peaceful, loving, forgiving, and patient with one another apply to children too. Jesus is our example!

In fact, Ephesians 5:1-2 says,

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

So to imitate God is to walk in love, not hurt each other. And the fruit of the Spirit is:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, *gentleness,* self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

I will end with two final verses.

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

God favors mercy over judgement.

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).

It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, not fear and pain.  This is what we should take literally!

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