Just Punch Him in the Face?


Rich Bennett suggests one way to teach your children how to discourage unrighteousness.

Imagine that your early teen son is in a computer lab at school. One of his classmates is giggling goofily, and he calls your son over to see what he’s pulled up on his computer screen. When your son gets there, what he sees is an image of several scantily clad women.

How should your son respond?

Should he turn and walk away, “fleeing from unrighteousness” (I Timothy 6:11)? Should he let the teacher know what the other student is doing?

This situation was part of a story I once heard at a father-son breakfast. A pastor and his teenage son recounted the incident—only his son didn’t choose either of the above options.

Instead, the father received a phone call from the school’s principal, informing him that he needed to come to the school. When he arrived, the pastor learned his son was being suspended for hitting one of his classmates.

A fellow student had shown his son a racy image on his PC screen. “And so, my son punched him in the face,” the pastor proudly announced.

I was shocked. But I was even more surprised when half of the 200 or so dads present broke into spontaneous cheers and applause. There were probably 50 middle school boys at the breakfast that day; all of whom left with the implied message that a swift blow to the face was an appropriate, even laudable, response.

As Christians, we are called to be set apart and to flee from sin. To me, advocating that our sons punch another person in the face because we object to their behavior runs counter to our call to be set apart. If we are going to advocate a punch to the face for displaying something sexual, how can we clearly draw the line there? What about when another boy or girl gossips? Or lies? Should we pop ’em in the jaw for that, too?

Yes, pornography is very, very destructive. It’s an issue that we as dads need to talk about proactively with our children, making sure they know why it’s wrong, how it can damage our hearts and how degrading it is to people formed in God’s image. We should also prepare our kids for the day when someone will call them over to show them something illicit. 

For my part, I will advise my son to take a stand, forcefully telling anyone showing him such materials that he wants no part of them. That said, I will suggest to my son that he then remove himself from the situation. That's a response worth celebrating and advocating in my view.

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