FROM the East Coast to the West Coast and from the Canadian border to the Mexican border we have permissiveness in Government, in courts, in schools, and in the homes. But permissiveness is not a new thing. It goes back, way back to Old Testament times.
The first high priest of Israel fell into that trap. Aaron lacked the force of character to discipline his two sons---Nadab and Abihu. When they came to the priesthood, they had never obeyed their father. Consequently, they did not obey God. They offered common fire instead of sacred fire, so God destroyed them by fire.
A later priest, Eli, had the character of his predecessor, Aaron. Hophni and Phinehas, too, profaned the priest's office and Cod destroyed them.
Samuel, dedicated to God from his childhood, grew up under the tutelage of Eli. He saw and knew all that happened to Eli's two sons, yet, amazingly, he failed to discipline and control his own sons. Result: When they were made judges in Israel they "turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment" (1 Sam. 8:3).
The fact that God rejected and destroyed these three sets of priests' (ministers') sons, shows that God is not a permissive heavenly Father. He will discipline, He will control, He will correct, He will chasten, He will be intolerant of permissive-waywardness on the part of His people.
The end result of God's chastening is much to be desired: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.... Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless after ward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:6-11).
All of us are frightened by the annual increase of crime. Crime is advancing five to six times faster than the population. Almost 3 million people were arrested last year for assorted misdeeds, and that fact, believe it or not, includes more than the entire male population of the State of Pennsylvania.
In addition to those arrested, tried, and incarcerated, there are more mil lions who are never apprehended, and millions more who are released through the machinations of clever lawyers. It is well said that there are more criminals outside the penitentiary than in. One would be shocked if he knew how many robbers, rapists, and murderers he meets and passes on the streets every day.
Judges and juries have "gone soft" on criminals, and criminals were the first to know it. And yet there are notable exceptions.
Samuel Leibowitz was a tough New York judge for some 30 years. He protected the innocent but meted out severe punishment to the scum guilty of crimes against public safety and public order.
The other night retired Judge Leibowitz was on the Dave Susskind show. He called for a return to respect for parents and to fear of God, and to effective punishment of the guilty. --Baptist Bible Tribune, Oct. 29, 1971.
Is Poverty the Cause?
When it comes to finding the cause of increasing crime, sentimental theorists at once pounce upon poverty, unfavorable environment born on the wrong side of the tracks, they say. Yet, this nation was never so rich and affluent as today. This present generation of youth complains about and criticizes the generation of their fathers and forefathers. But the generation under criticism is the one that has built the greatest, the most powerful, and the most affluent nation that has ever been.
This nation has more automobiles, more TV, radio, boats, better housing and most of it has come since World War II. This is the world that this generation of revolutionaries and criminals was born into.
No other nation in history has given so much to the have-not nations--more than $100 billion in twenty-five years. Few other nations have such an extensive welfare program, providing for the aged and unfortunate.
Poverty is not the cause of crime's increase. In the great depression of the thirties, when people were really poor, when they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel, crime decreased--not increased.
Crime Due to Permissiveness
A survey of prison inmates is most convincing that crime and its increase is due rather to the permissive attitude now so prevalent. The raped and murdered victim is forgotten, and the so-called poor, benighted, rapist-murderer gets the sympathy, the breaks, and too often his freedom to rape and murder again.
Permissiveness has its inception in the home with the parents. The idea that the child should not be inhibited is as erroneous as it is dangerous. I read not long ago of a three-year-old who spit in his mother's face when she put him in the crib. Being a permissive parent, she bent over the crib to talk and reason with him. He spit in her face again so she shook him lightly and he did it again. Now, completely frustrated she rushed out of the room, the loser in the battle. The child knew he had won and that mother was never able to gain control. At thirteen or fourteen the boy was completely delinquent.
If parents do not teach a child to obey, how can he learn it? No way! The Bible speaks about training up a child when he is young. And here is more inspired ad vice: "Withhold not correction from the child" (Prov. 23:13). "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying" (chap. 19:18). "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him be times" (chap. 13:24).
"He that spareth his rod hateth his son." It is not love that spares the rod; love applies the rod: "he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." It is well established that a baby can be spoilt. Well, if he can be spoilt, he can be trained. Counsels to Parents and Teachers says this:
At a very early age children can comprehend what is plainly and simply told them, and by kind and judicious management can be taught to obey. Never should they be allowed to show their parents disrespect. Self-will should never be permitted to go unrebuked. The future well-being of the child requires kindly, loving, but firm discipline. Page 112.