By Mike Clarensau
Today's Scripture: Proverbs 23:13–14
Central Thought: Sometimes the hard thing's the only thing.
Few Bible-reading parents have managed to overlook this well-known thought found in today's Scripture. In fact, some have found this proverb to justify their belief in corporal punishment, laying to rest the 'liberal” ideas others have put forth. 'After all, if it was good enough for my daddy,” or so the reasoning goes.
But there's more here than just an attempt to resolve the spanking versus time-out debate. The writer of this verse is aiming at shaping life patterns. Surely the individual spanking isn't a life or death matter, but the path of the undisciplined ends in disaster.
Yes, one can see the importance of getting a child's attention turned away from wrongdoing, but on a larger scale, we need to see that the avoidance of pain and pursuit of ease offers the same path. Simply put, the best choices in the long-term are those that require short-term discomfort. If you're looking for an easy way out of responsibility or a path to success that doesn't include personal discipline, you're not going to find one.
As our lives become increasingly more comfortable and our goals are more shaped by the pursuit of that comfort, we become more likely to miss the reality that the greatest gains come through short-term pains. Doing the right thing instead of the easy thing is what will bring future benefit. Adults who avoid the right thing usually end up needing a good spanking.
Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me not to settle for what is easiest. I know that the road to destruction is the broad road, while the road to life is narrow. Help me be unafraid to choose the narrower road.
Today's Bible Reading: Isaiah 19:1-21:17; Galatians 2:1-16; Psalm 59:1-17; Proverbs 23:13-14