The “Smacking” Issue

18 March 2007


  1. Introduction:

·         Role of Government and Stewardship/Protection.

·         When character/responsibility decreases then government by law increases.

·         NZ – appalling record in relation to ‘Child Abuse’ => family decline.

·         Cannot change this by changing the laws.

·         Proposal change – Repeal section 59 of the Cries Act.

“Every person in the place of a parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”.

·         Proposed change – won’t solve the problem; will turn good parents into law breakers, and neighbours and teachers into government agents reporting.

·         “Police will be required by law to act if a complaint is made”.

·         “Effect of act will be to place child in the same position as an adult”    - QC.


  1. God’s Mandate to Parents – Purpose; Responsibility; Authority; Accountability.

·         God calls every person to live under authority – preference to correction.

·         He has invested authority in people – family, church, government, business.

·         Romans 13:1-2 -  “Let every soul be subject to authorities”.

Subject = lupotasso = to position yourself in place of yielding and cooperation with one in authority to work together for common purpose.

·         Parents have authority because God calls you to be an authority in a child’s life.

e.g.  Genesis 18:19  -  “I have chosen Abraham, I will know him that he will command his children and household after him and they shall keep the way of the Lord”.

e.g.  Deuteronomy 6:4-6  -  “The great commandment – love Lord God teach children”.

e.g.  Ephesians 6:4  - “Do not provoke children – bring them up in the nature of the Lord”.

·         Parents have the authority to act on behalf of God – fulfill his directions.

·         Parents have the responsibility to fulfill as God’s representatives.

·         God defines the task – you act on his behalf.

·         You are a person under authority – as well as the child – same Lord but different roles.

·         Because God has given responsibility – you don’t need the child’s permission to act.

·         You are in charge – you have the responsibility – Shepherd child.

·         Proverbs 22:6  - “ Train up the child in the way he should go”.

·         Train  = to narrow, rub the palate, discipline => direction

·         You are God’s agent to shape the child’s heart attitudes and behaviour.

·         Discipline is an issue of honoring God and character formation

- communicate and Rod of the Lord.

- no place for anger



3.  God’s Mandate to Children:

·         Ephesians 6:1-3  -  Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.

·         God’s directive to children:  Obey and Honor (Respect)

·         God’s blessing:  Things go well – life is blessed.

·         Key issues;  Children must learn to honor and obedient.

·         Honor =>  Treat parents with respect and esteem them because of position/authority.

·         Obedience => Willing submission of one person to the authority of another. Do what told – without delay; without excuse; without challenge.

·         Submission to authority =>  child will have to do things don’t want to.

·         Implications:

1)      Parents must train their children in honor, respect and obedience.

2)      Parents themselves must be an example in attitude and action.

·         Inevitably there will be a clash of wills.


4.  The Root is a Heart Issue:

·         Luke 6:43  -  Out of the heart!

·         Children are not born morally neutral.

·         Their actions and words flow out of what is in the heart.

·         Their behaviors are the overflow of the heart.

·         Jeremiah 17:9  -   Heart is wicked – desperately wicked.

·         Proverbs 22:15  -  “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of correction will drive it far from him”.

·         God’s Word = something wrong in the heart of a child/reflects in action.

·         Folly/Foolishness = reject God; do not want to hear correction.

·         Fool rejects God’s authority and ways, follows own desires.

·         Purpose of rod = humble heart of child so can be subject to parental instruction and direction.

·         For the rod to work => no anger; no frustration; no ‘punishment’.

Requires:  communication, faith, correction, love – Proverbs 13:24

·         Rod of correction restores child to a place of relationship/blessing.

Requires:  clear explanation, clear conscience, identify behaviour – heart issue, correction, reconciliation.

·         God never endorses hitting children whenever we wish.


5.  What should we do?

·         When the law invades the home and conflicts with God’s word e.g. China – parents forbidden to communicate the Gospel to their children.

·         Actions: 

1)      develop a submissive attitude to authority (respect)

2)      Reuse voice over proposed changes.

3)      Develop parenting skills – understanding.

4)      Personal decision over issue speaking;

* right attitude

* disobedience or rebellion

*  accept consequences  e.g Daniel’s fiends

                                               e.g. Apostles


·         Hebrews 12:5-11