Proverbs 20:30, The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
Most anyone in our day questioning whether our ways are like God's ways will find the answer in this proverb.
Proctor and Gamble's cleansing agents work on the outside but God's cleansing agents work on the inside.
His agents provide a remedy for problems that haunt the world and if used will bring order and tranquility to the streets and neighborhoods of America.
America wants and craves the order and tranquility that this cleansing agent will bring.
But many in America do not like from where the cleansing agent comes, nor do they like the cleansing agent.
God's ways have been examined and found wanting by the experts, by the self-enlightened or the each-other enlightened.
God's ways are not appropriate for our culture, they say.
In fact they are anathema to modern thinkers in America.
But praise the Lord, the word of God is for God's people.
We are not to expect the world to believe or hold to God's ways.
We are simply to expect that God's people believe and hold to God's ways in spite of what contradictions they may hear.
That is not too much to expect from God's people, is it?
By this proverb God provides a prescription that may at times be needed for correction.
Correction is needed because there is error in direction.
Try driving a car without second by second correction.
If correction is consistent in driving then all correction will be small or comfortable corrections.
Slight adjustments in direction or speed will keep the car on course.
The car will not buck or rebel to slight correction.
It will keep the car headed in the right direction without drastic correction or drastic measures.
But go ahead and fall asleep, try inattention, try laxness.
What may be needed then, when correction is demanded?
Drastic and perhaps harsh measures. Hard and quick choices.
Time is short-kind of choices. Choices that cause the car to rebel against change in direction.
Choices where pain may be in every option regardless of the choice that is made.
In order to prevent death from a head on collision the ditch may be chosen causing great pain but less cost than certain death.
Inattention, laxness, sleeping on the job causes greater pain in order to correct the car from going in a dangerous direction.
Jeremiah the Prophet knew this when he prayed in Jeremiah 10:23,24, O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
Jeremiah asks the Lord for correction. How unusual! How meek!
He knows that the way of man is not in himself.
He knows that he cannot look in his heart and find the way.
It is not in there to find. It is deceitful don't you know?
So Jeremiah, bless his soul, has a knowledge of the holy one and therefore has understanding.
Therefore he asks the only one that will be successful, to correct him.
Jeremiah is wise, he is meek, wouldn't you say? No fool here!
But he also asks the correction be with judgment, without anger.
In this case judgment means justice. It means give me correction that is properly measured.
It means to make the exact correction that is needed to get me going in the right direction.
Please don't over correct, just give me correction in the right measure.
Try overcorrecting your car as you follow the speed limit on the interstate.
You may cause the car to go out of control, to even tip over.
Your car needs correction with judgment, with justice.
It needs the right measure of correction to keep it going in the right direction.
And so it is when it comes to the correction that we need or the correction that we need to give to others including our children.
It is the same as the request of Agur the son of Jakeh, when he asked the Lord to feed him food convenient for him.
The Lord knows me and he knows what food of correction will get the job done. No more, no less.
The book of proverbs talks much about chastisement or correction.
As parents we are given the proper tools to use when correcting whether it be our word or it be the rod.
Correction may at times require gentle strokes of the rod but at other times it may require severe strokes.
God gives us authority to cause pain to the flesh of our children for the subjugation of the spirit.
Sin and the results of sin are far greater than the affliction of blueness and stripes which last but for a moment.
Is not the spirit eternal and the flesh temporal?
David knew this when in Psalm 119:71 when he said, It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
If pain to the flesh brings benefit to the spirit then so be it.
Even to the blueness of the wound, even to the temporary tattoo of the stripes.
God equips us with judgment. We are to be discerning in what correction is needed to aright the child who is fallen.
We are to train up a child in the way he should go. Who better equipped to do this than parents.
We know his age, we know if we have been providing correcting adjustments in a consistent manner.
If we know God we know the way our child should go and when we see him going in a direction contrary to that direction then correction is required. To God that is a given.
If he has given you children the case is closed as to whether or not you are to correct that child.
He has a fallen nature that guarantees that he needs correction.
And you are the one to apply the correction.
And you are the one to decide how severe that correction should be, but only up to what God allows. You cannot go past that.
We know if we have been neglectful in our correction.
We know if drastic or severe adjustment or correction will be necessary to aright the child to the right way.
Many times need for drastic correction is our fault because we have not applied the comfortable corrections in a timely manner.
But God knows our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
He gives us instruction that blueness of the wound is at times necessary for cleansing.
He authorizes us to cause strips on the outside of our children in order to cause a change on the inside of our children.
This is a great responsibility of a parent.
It requires discernment, judgment, love, soberness, temperance and patience and it requires an absence of anger.
Remember what Jeremiah prayed, O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
Wouldn't you honor this prayer if it came from your children?
We must assume that it does because God speaks for your children.