Calling A Spade A Spade. Sometimes The Truth Hurts.

Jesus said:

“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32, NASB).

As I mentioned in my last post, I have had people get angry for labeling my dad as abusive.  However, when we look at the definition of labeling, we see that describing his behavior is not “labeling.”

Here’s the definition of labeling:

“assign to a category, especially inaccurately or restrictively.”

“children were labeled as bullies” (Google Dictionary).

I believe that the key word here is inaccurately.  I hate labels, especially when it comes to children.  There are no bad children.  I have constantly been labeled inaccurately as “retarded,” “heretical,” and a “drama queen” by people who don’t even know me and judge me wrongly.  Frankly, I’m guilty of judging others and labeling them inaccurately as well.  This is something that I continue to work on.

 I also had another run in with a “Christian” pro-spanker who became more and more insulting to me and others as we tried to point out the Truth that Proverbs was not meant to be taken literally when it comes to the rod verses that seem to advocate for corporal punishment.  I don’t know where he gets his Hebrew and Greek definitions, but I do not believe that they are from accurate resources.  Of course, he thinks the same thing about me.

I assure you all that I get my definitions of the Hebrew words and Greek words from Biblical scholars and always link to them.  Here’s a wonderful article about the accuracy of the Bible.  I take accuracy very seriously because James 3:1 states:

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (NASB).

I don’t fear God, as in being afraid of Him, but I am reverent towards Him.  Thank the Lord that God is love and forgives.  The pro-spanker tried to say that the Hebrew word for fear the Lord means to be scared of Him.  It made no sense in the context of 1 John 4 where the Bible describes God’s amazing love for us and that fear has to do with punishment.  I’m sorry but love and fear cannot co-exist.

Well, things got heated and I described what I was seeing in his comments.  With both my dad and this pro-spanker, I have been thinking a lot about labeling and have come to the conclusion that it’s not “labeling” if you are describing behaviors you have experienced and/or observed.  

Here’s the definition of describing:

“1. give an account in words of (someone or something), including all the relevant characteristics, qualities, or events” (Google dictionary).

There’s nothing wrong with pointing out negative behaviors in an appropriate manner which can be difficult in the heat of the moment. My dad was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive to me and my siblings whether they want to admit it or not.  To keep quiet about the abuse is to make it ok. It’s NEVER ok to hurt a child in any manner.  There’s so much victim blaming and gaslighting from people who don’t want the abuse exposed. I will never be able to pretend that this abuse didn’t happen even when I have forgiven him.

The same goes for pro-spankers who become insulting and un-Christian like.  A person can only take so much before he or she explode. Being mean, insulting, and hateful just sends people—adults and children into fight or flight. They cannot hear the person any more and will eventually either lash out or shut down.  I imagine that this is what most of these people who resort to being mean and hateful want—a reaction from the person trying to be kind and respectful and explain our viewpoints.   If these people  must inflict pain on children, then I can see why those people also must inflict pain on everyone else.

Children grow up and some become trapped in the horrible, abusive doctrine that they were raised in.  Or get stuck in believing that an abusive pattern is fine.  People like me who were traumatized by the abuse find their voice and must speak out for the children.  I don’t think I’m better than anybody.  I just want people to know and experience the true, beautiful love of Christ and to STOP children from being hurt due to man’s traditions.

Plus, with children we teach them by describing what they are doing and asking questions.  Gentle parenting describes emotions and helps children work through them appropriately. During a conflict between two children, we describe what is happening in the moment to help each child see the others’ point of view and come to a resolution.  Without describing, learning would be difficult.

I must point out that diagnosis of a disability or disease is fine and necessary. However, diagnosis should not become labels that are used against children and adults.  I have severe cerebral palsy and it doesn’t define me. It just affects how I live my life which is not easy but I am blessed with a wonderful life.

In conclusion, it’s necessary to call a spade a spade. Sometimes the truth hurts when we humble ourselves and realize that we are wrong.  However, the Truth (Jesus) will sett us free if we allow Him to do so. What a wonderful message to teach our precious children!

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Guest Post: Kinderen Van Mijn Hart (Children Of My Heart) By Hannah Klassen

They twist the words, thus, making us out to be fools.  They are very good at their verbal gymnastics. I fall to the floor; the grief within my heart weighs down on me like a boulder. Tears flow down my cheeks, like a river.  I weep for thousand years.

Oh, *Kinderen van mijn hart, they hurt you, and they confuse your minds, they make you believe that you deserved it, that it was love that drove them to do it. Oh my dear little ones, so young, so trusting, and they twist that and warp that.

Oh beloved Papa, the darkness consumes and devours, distorts and destroys. How dare they use Your name!  How dare they say it’s Your will and Your command!  For what they do is of great darkness. To wound a child like that.  It is not just the body they harm, but also the heart, soul, spirit and mind. They say that they do it out love, but what kind of love would force a child into a helpless position and strike them, inflicting pain and fear?

While within their hearts, they have great love for their children, but what drives them to slap the buttocks is not love, but fear.  It is fear that drives their hand.  Fear of what will happen if they don’t.  Fear of what others will think if they don’t. Fear of what God will do to them if they don’t.

Oh, what a twisted web of deception, those who sit on their thrones and tell us what to do, that their way is the right way.  Why have we made them our “gods,” and obey them without question?  They are mere humans, like us.  So why do we take their words as if they are holy?  Just because their kids appear to be wonderful, productive, and responsible citizens. We know that things aren’t always what they appear.  How many times have horrible crimes become known and we cry out in shock, because we really bought the act that person was playing.  We say, “how could they have done that?”  They were such a good person and we list off all the things that we believe makes someone a good person.
Are spankings from God?  Does spanking cause a child to fear?  Is there fear in love or does love cast out fear?  Does it cause a child, when they have done something wrong to lie, hide and escape a spanking? Does spanking soften a child’s heart or does it harden it, thus, they have less compassion for their sibling who gets spanked too?  Does it produce life, light, and love?  Does it produce peace, gentleness, kindness and compassion for others?  What is the fruit of spanking?

As I explained, and article explains, spanking isn’t violence! You obviously have no clue! My mother was spanked, her mother was spanked, I was spanked, I never felt threatened, I never felt unloved, I never felt abused, neither did my mom, or hers! And their generations where better behaved,more Morgan’s, respect and values, today people are raising spoiled rotten brats who feel privileged and manipulate and get bribed! That turns out thugs and brats! Spanking is not hitting, a big difference! Hitting is in anger, uncontrolled and teaches nothing.”


“It’s kids today who are more violent and harsh and less sympathetic! Back when I was a kid, kids where kind and we all got along, a bully was humiliated and kids stood up for bullied. The generations before where respectful and kind and had more values. Kids today are rude and brash,curse and ignore authority and rules!”


“And I work with kids! Even in early nineties/ late eighties they where better behaved! Today you can get cussed out and assaulted by a three year old! Oh….and mommy doesn’t spank so kid will never empathize because he doesn’t know what it feels like!”

When I read these words, my heart becomes broken.  If this person is the posterchild for a properly spanked kid, then we all should weep until there are no more tears to shed. When Jesus was here on earth and was with people, who was the people He hung out with?  The very people this person is calling names.

Our Papa does not see any of His children in this light.  Yes, He sees all of our brokenness and wrongdoing. But, that doesn’t cause Him to despise us, rather, it moves His heart with compassion. Tears fall from His eyes, for He feels our pain and empathizes with our struggles. When we’ve really screwed up and feel like a piece of (expletive deleted), what does Papa do?  He embraces us, holds us in His arms, and tells us over and over again that He will love us forever and ever and there is nothing we can do that will ever change that. He pours His love upon us, with eyes so soft and caring, with a face of such affection, this is our God, this is our Papa.

*Kinderen van mijn hart (children of my heart).

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Spanking ALWAYS Leaves “Marks,” Therefore It IS Abuse AND Spanking IS Hitting!

I’ve dealt with a great deal of pro-spankers and EVERY time they emphatically insist that spanking is not hitting, and that, if done “correctly,” it is not abuse.

There are so many holes in these two arguments!  First, spanking IS hitting!  Let’s look at the definitions of “spank” and “hit”:

Spank:

1. Verb: “to strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper, etc., especially on the buttocks, as in punishment.”
2. Noun: “a blow given in spanking; a smart or resounding slap”
(www.dictionary.com).

Hit:

1. Verb: “to deal a blow or stroke to.”
2. Verb: “to come into violent contact with”
(www.dictionary.com).

Abuse:
Abuse is defined as any thing that is harmful, injurious, or offensive. Abuse also includes excessive and wrongful misuse of anything” (Gulli & Nasser, 2002, http://www.ask.com/health/galecontent/abuse).

As we can clearly see, these three definitions are pretty similar. Because spanking and hitting is always intended to inflict pain on a child, it is covered under the definition of abuse. Pain means harm is being done to the body. The body uses pain to alert us that injury is either taking place or is about to take place.

There are many euphemisms used when speaking about corporal punishment, such as spank, whack, beat, whip, tap, smack, swat, paddle, physical discipline, correction, and slap. The need for euphemisms indicates a certain amount of denial within our society regarding the harm of inflicting physical pain on smaller human beings.

Hitting is never used to describe corporal punishment among those that support and practice it. The reality is that no matter how we try to make it sound nicer, we cannot spank without hitting the child with either an open hand or an object. It physically is the exact same action.

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A note: This quote is actually from Phil Quinn. I cited him in my book.

Second, every spank/hit causes physical and emotional pain even if it’s done “lovingly.”  Love does not mitigate the emotional, psychological, or spiritual harm of physical punishment.  In fact, it makes it worse!

Many people believe that if a mother spanks her child, but is generally warm and affectionate toward her child, the spanking will not be harmful. The fact is, science does not support this cultural belief. We have known for some time that spanking is strongly linked to increased aggression in young children. Recent research in a study of over 3,000 children now shows that the warmth of the mother does not prevent the negative effects of spanking. This means children who are spanked are at much greater risk for being more aggressive – period. A mother’s warmth does not decrease the risk. Wow! How can that be?


It is important to understand what causes the increase in aggression. One obvious reason is, violence is being modeled and children are incredible mimics. Even more importantly, spanking interferes with proper development of the brain’s regulatory equipment, which develops in the first five years of life”
(Peters, 2013, http://stopspanking.org/2013/06/25/maternal-warmth-doesnt-make-spanking-less-harmful/).

The fact is, being hurt by the people who are supposed to protect and love you is extremely traumatizing.  Therefore, even if it’s done “correctly,” (I’ll never understand how one can “correctly” inflict pain on a child!) it still harms children emotionally.  This fits the definition of abuse.

Also, I read a disturbing blog from a Christian pro-spanker about how she spanks/hits her infants and toddlers with paint brush sticks and will use a belt to spank/hit them when they’re older. She had her husband spank/hit her with a belt to see how it felt and said it wasn’t that painful. Many Christian pro-spanking advocates recommend parents “flick” themselves before spanking/hitting their children to make sure they don’t hit too hard. Yet, they say that the spanking must be painful in order to be “effective.”

I want to remind everyone that children’s bodies are usually much more sensitive and vulnerable than ours. What may not hurt YOU, will HURT the child. Not to mention the emotional and spiritual pain being inflicted on them by those who are suppose to love and protect them. Plus, we all have different tolerances for pain. What would hurt my husband a little would hurt me A LOT! Don’t use your pain tolerance to justify spanking/hitting your children.

Also, this news story shows children can be killed through being physically punished.  Here are more horrific stories of children dying from being “lovingly” and calmly spanked/hit.  What if the child has a high tolerance for pain?  What if their wills don’t break?  That’s when we see these deaths.  Repeat spankings cause tissue to break down which can eventually enter the bloodstream and kill the child.

One last thing to consider is children with dark skin have to endure much more pain before bruises, welts, and abrasions are visible.  This is not fair!

Yes, all spanking is hitting!  And spanking is abuse!  Period!  If we can’t spank/hit adults or animals, why should we be able to spank/hit children?  They are humans too!

Instead of spanking/hitting children, please use true discipline.  That IS Biblical!  Spanking/hitting is NOT Biblical whatsoever!

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References:

Gulli & Nasser. (2002).  Abuse.  http://www.ask.com/health/galecontent/abuse.

Greven, P. (1992). Spare the Child. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Peters, R. (2013). Maternal Warmth Doesn’t Make Spanking Less Harmful.  http://stopspanking.org/2013/06/25/maternal-warmth-doesnt-make-spanking-less-harmful/.

The Mocking Tone of Pro-spankers

I am sickened and saddened by the harsh, mocking tone of yet another pro-spanking meme circulating Facebook.

It’s as if being hit and/or hitting a child is not serious. It also further proves that pro-spankers lack empathy and compassion. To truly believe that children need a “good whipping or spanking” in order to learn limits and boundaries shows a lack of regard for the fruits of the Spirit, the child’s feelings and dignity, and for people who were spanked and did not turn out “just fine.”  The reality is that if you believe inflicting pain on a child is “ok,” you’re are not fine.

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Denial and repression are very strong coping mechanisms when one has been hurt by their parents.  It’s easier to deny and repress and even mock the pain rather than deal with it.  It’s very sad that this not only perpetuates violence towards children, but it turns some into downright angry and hateful people.

Yes, children who are physically punished/abused can learn empathy, but it is much more difficult for them, and they often learn it from someone other than their parents. The research and actions of pro-spankers clearly demonstrates that physical punishment/abuse limits the development of empathy in children.

But, you can fight this. You can become gentle. I encourage all pro-spankers to search their hearts and ask if they really want their children to be like them; mocking, angry, un-empathetic, degrading, and mean?

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What is Proverbs 23:13-14 Actually Saying?

Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol”
Proverbs 23:13-14 NASB

So many Christians believe this verse and the other “Rod” verses are to be taken literally. Some very watered down versions of the Bible even say to spank. But, if we were to take this literally, wouldn’t that make God a liar?

Let’s think about this.

1. The Hebrew word for rod is Shebet. It was a big heavy stick with spikes on it. Striking a small child with this instrument even gently would kill the child.

2. Sheol is the Hebrew word for death, not Hell, as many Christians believe. To say that spanking/hitting children will save them from Hell would discredit the horrible suffering and agony of what Christ did on the cross. All we would need to be saved from Hell would be a good beating. Yet, many reject God due to “loving spankings.”

3. Many children have physically died from spankings. This verse and the rest of the Bible does not give “rules” on how not to go too far. In fact, the King James Version of the Bible, which many fundamentalist Christians tout as the “only true version,” tells us to beat children with the rod.

Again, this would make God a liar to say that a child will not die if we beat her/him. God NEVER lies (“so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18, NASB)!

4. Even if children don’t physically die after being spanked/hit, an emotional/spiritual part of them does die and their brains are damaged. This is NOT good. This makes it harder for them to receive God’s grace.

5. Jesus said a lot about children. Why did He not talk about spanking/hitting them?

Considering all these facts, which I explore much more deeply in my book, Gentle Firmness, wouldn’t it make more sense to interpret these verses in keeping with the original context and actual meanings?

The deeper we look into the original context and meaning, the clearer it becomes that God never intended for children to be spanked/hit.

If we discipline children with God’s Word, they will not die.

If we protect children with the rod, they will not die.

If we use our authority properly to teach and guide our children in a gentle but firm way, they will not die.
Punishment leads to death. Discipline leads to LIFE!

“But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”
Matthew 19:14 NASB

Let’s listen to Jesus instead of man!

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Taking the First Step in Your Gentle Parenting Journey

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love this quote so much. For many Christian and secular parents, turning away from punitive parenting and corporal punishment to gentle and firm parenting is a huge first step in faith. It means rejecting what most of the culture is teaching and doing. It also means getting ridiculed and told that your children will turn out as “brats.”

It means for us Christians rejecting a very prevalent church doctrine that is touted as “Biblical truth.” While the Church is ever so slowly coming to the realization that God never intended for children to be spanked/hit, many are actually afraid to come out of the closet due fear of being told that they and their children are going to Hell.

And though the gentle parenting movement is growing and there are a ton of resources on the Internet for how to truly discipline our children, it is often still a lonely journey as sometimes finding other local gentle parents is very difficult.

Often parents moving from punishment to discipline don’t know what TO do instead. They’ve only experienced painful corporal punishment. Taking a first step despite not being able to see where the staircase leads is a a huge leap of faith. It’s scary to go against the grain. Children are viewed as property and burdens in this society. We who are standing against this must have faith that we are making a difference even though we don’t always feel like we are.

Yes, we must have a lot of faith in this gentle parenting movement. I often get weary trying to teach and advocate for the respectful treatment of children. There are many days I want to give up. But then I’ll look into the eyes of an innocent child and think, “If I don’t speak up for them, who will?”

This verse also encourages me to keep going. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9). Yes, God and Martin Luther King, Jr. are right. Faith is taking that first step when we cannot see where we are going.

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