“In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.”
It is sad when God says that His punishment of the children brought no fruit. Israel became a society that let their children get away with doing wrong and didn’t realize the impact it would have on their future. The lack of correction as children led the children to live sinful lives and rebel against God’s correction, which eventually led to their demise and destruction.
I grew up in a home where correction was used when needed. My parents had rules they expected us to obey, and we were punished when we disobeyed those rules. Their punishment and correction didn’t hurt my siblings or me at all; rather, it has helped us to face life successfully. I can remember other parents who thought my parents punishment was cruel, and they also thought it would drive us away; but the opposite happened for all of us. Those parents who didn’t punish their children saw their children break their hearts because of their sinful lifestyle, and this all happened because their children were never corrected. The verse above reveals what happens when you don’t punish your children.
First, if you don’t correct your children, they won’t accept God’s correction. The verse above says, “In vain have I smitten your children…” If you want your children to respond to God’s correction, you had better learn to correct your children. How your children respond to your correction is how they will respond to God’s correction. If you never correct your children, you will never be able to teach your children the proper way to respond to God’s correction.
Second, if your children are not corrected, they will believe they are their own authority. These children who were not corrected said in verse 31, “We are lords…” Children have to understand that there are authorities in life whom they must obey. Children will never learn that life doesn’t revolve around themselves when they grow up never if they’re not punished when they do wrong as children.
Third, if your children are not corrected, they will not know what true love is all about. God asked in verse 33, “Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?” These children never learned that true love has boundaries; instead, they lived an illicit lifestyle to their own hurt. True love has boundaries and limitations that keep children from hurting themselves. Children must be punished when boundaries are crossed and those limitations are broken so that they learn that freedom is found inside of the established boundaries and limitations.
Fourth, if your children are not corrected, they will believe they are always innocent. These children said in verse 35, “Because I am innocent…” You will raise a self-righteous adult who never sees they are wrong if they are not corrected as children. Children must be corrected when they are wrong so that they don’t grow up thinking that they are always right.
Fifth, if your children are not corrected, they will destroy themselves. Verses 36-37 shows the destruction these children faced. My friend, if you love your children and you want them to live a fulfilling life, you had better start correcting them when they are wrong. A child that is left to themselves will bring shame to their parents, and destruction and hurt to their own life.