How can discipline be loving?

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Proverbs 13

24    He who spares his rod hates his son,

But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Hebrews 12

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

There is an idea being promoted that discipline and love are opposites. Parents who truly love their children would never “hit” them or intentionally “hurt” them in any way. This idea makes correction painless and therefore ineffective. In my view, it was always easier to ignore my children’s disobedience than it was to correct it. If the opposite of love is hate then when I love myself I hate my children. In love of myself I would not be inconvenienced by their disobedient/angry/selfish disruptions so I would then, “spare the rod,” or hold back any painful correction. Only when I loved my children more than myself would I stop was I was doing to bring to them the correction they needed.

In Hebrews we are taught that God chastens those He loves. (In that case He must love me a lot.) This idea is polar opposite of the current culture of tolerance and non-correction. Why don’t parents let their children stay up late, watch movies all night and day, eat chocolate, ice cream, pizza, and drink pop as much as they want? Do parents restrict children because they want to ruin their young lives? Of course not. Out of maturity and love, parents seek to lead children, who don’t know any better, to a better place, a place of greater maturity and understanding. We call those who nurture and guide their children, good parents.

When God corrects those He loves, He is being a good heavenly Father. We don’t know what we need nor do we know what is good for us. Only as God leads us can we know the bad from the good, the right from the wrong. God, in love, chastens us, sometimes painfully, to correct us. This is a demonstration of God’s love to us. Fathers and mothers, when you love your children you will correct them too in hopes of bringing them to greater maturity and understanding for their temporal and their eternal good.

 

Last night, Stefani and I met with a man who lives in our building. His wife and three daughters are in school in Japan and he enjoyed getting to know Stef. After that we took Jared for a party (any time we eat at a table in a restaurant it is a “party” for Jared) and then to a small bowling alley. (By small I mean the lanes were shorter, the balls were lighter and the games were five frames.) Jared loves “knocking them over” so he wanted to call grandma last night to tell her that he “knocked them over.” It was a nice ending to a busy day.

The election results are out and the incumbent clearly won the presidential election here. There are protests today but they don’t seem to be violent. We are praying for a peaceful continuation of Indonesia’s democracy.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

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