Rape, Spanking, Witnessing, and Masturbation - 04/30/2003
What does the Bible say about...
spanking your children?
fear of witnessing?
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Marie. Thanks for writing us with your questions. We're sorry it has taken so long to reply. The subject line is missing something, so I'm assuming you're asking what the Bible says about those topics. Let me address these topics in reverse order.
By "self gratification," I assume you are referring to masturbation. The Bible does not specifically mention masturbation, but it has much to say about sexual purity. Some would argue that masturbation is a very natural activity in which to engage. However, Colossians 3:5 tells us we are to "put to death [these parts of our] earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed..." In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, we are told "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality, that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God...." So the question arises: does masturbation fall into the category of sexual immorality? That's not necessarily an easy question to answer. God created sex, and that makes it a good thing. But God also created sex to be enjoyed by a man and his wife (Genesis 2:24). Masturbation falls outside of that covenant, so it could be argued that masturbation is indeed sexually immoral. I think a better test is this: what does a person feel in their heart when masturbating? Is it lust? The Holy Spirit can help us discern when we are being tempted by the sin of lust. Lust does not need to be acted out in a physical sense to be sinful (Matthew 5:28). If lust is present in the mind or heart, then an act of sin has already occurred. Some Christians will contend that in the absence of a specific mention of masturbation as a sin, we can conclude that it is not sinful. Others will argue that God's commandments on sexual purity will cover masturbation, and any argument to the contrary is an attempt to justify a temptation. I encourage you to read the scriptures above, and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Fear of witnessing is a common affliction among Christians. It is sad, but Satan effectively uses fear to keep us from fulfilling the Great Commission, given us by Jesus. There are many encouraging things I would point you toward in scripture. First, I recommend reading Jesus' words to his disciples as he sent them out (Matthew chapter 10). Christ promises us that the Counselor (Holy Spirit) will be with us, and will speak through us. Read the entire chapter, as it is a tremendous source of encouragement.
I often find it amazing that even Paul was nervous and scared on his missionary journey. The man who wrote the bulk of the epistles was actually nervous about ministering! Isn't that something?! When I feel nervous, there's a passage I love to read. Look up 1 Corinthians 1:26 - 2:16. I think you too will be encouraged by Paul's words. I also suggest a couple of articles on our website: What Paul Taught Me About Being a Contender, and Be a Fearless Contender.
Spanking a child is not (or should not) be a fun thing for a parent to do. Nevertheless, the Bible instructs us to discipline our children. Proverbs 23:13-14 says, "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." Now God does not encourage child abuse here, but He does instruct us to enforce discipline. The purpose of discipline is to train a child. In life, we must all face consequences for our actions. Poor choices can sometimes result in unpleasant consequences. The most extreme (yet relevant) example is the choice on whether or not to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. We have free will, and therefore the choice is ours. If we choose poorly, the consequence is eternal separation from God in a fiery hell. Children must learn the concept of cause and effect. We must teach them that there are consequences for their actions. That means that disobedience needs to be punished. Some parents use grounding or "time outs" as a punishment. Others choose spanking. Proverbs 23:13 tells us that spanking is a legitimate form of punishment. The ultimate goal of discipline can be found in Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." When and if you spank your child, keep in mind the purpose of the punishment, and never touch your child in anger. A spanking should be administered as an act of love and correction - not as an act of vengeance.
Rape is a sexually immoral act of hate and violence against another person. The list of scripture that condemns part or all of that is too numerous to mention. I would refer you to the scripture passages I mentioned in regards to masturbation. Also, if a person follows what Christ called the two "greatest commandments" in Matthew 22:37-40, then all aspects of rape are obviously an abomination before God.
I hope this has answered your questions. May God bless you as you search out His truth and contend for the faith.
Ben and Jennifer Rast