Love as a Measure for Living


Don’t speak in the ears of fools,
for they will scorn your insightful words.

Proverbs 23:9

In the book of Proverbs, we have the inside scoop on how to live and think. Peace runs through the wise sayings here. But there is a problem with verse 13. It seems to say that it’s OK for parents to hit their children! From it there has come a saying, “Spare the rod and spoil the child!” This apparently means, if you’re afraid of damaging a rod for punishing a child, you may have a rod in one piece by you’ll have a spoiled child.

There are lots of problems with a physical, spanking approach to this verse, especially these days when we hear of child abuse. Many times an angry parent is tempted to strike a child, not as a consequence to what a child does, but rather to express anger.

So, let’s have another look at the meaning of verse 13. Take out your 12 inch ruler from school. It’s a stick, isn’t it—a rod? You could use it to give someone a whack on the back, but it’s not meant for that. It’s what you use when you want to measure things in inches, or to make a line straight. You compare what you are measuring with the ruler; you draw a line with it so that a line is neat. So in a deeper sense, what this verse means is that parents are meant to hold up a measure, a ruler—not as a physical thing, but a guide—something spiritual to measure our actions and how parents are meant to treat their children—with the measure of love!

Proverbs 23:1-25

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Silence in presence of fools. v. 9
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in the season of Autumn/Kingdomtide, Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…