Proverbs 3:11-12 – “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” NASB
Isaiah 13:11 – “Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.” NASB
It is my opinion that far too many people in every aspect of life misunderstand the difference between discipline and punishment. Too many people administer punishment where discipline is called for not realizing that discipline is designed to bring to repentance. They fail to understand that punishment is the ultimate result of an offense of the rebellious that refuses to modify behavior, repent, and return to the correct path.
Punishment is punitive whereas discipline is administered with reconciliation as the primary focus. Hell is punishment! Chastisement is discipline! When my children were young my objective in what some called punishment and God called discipline was to shape their attitudes and behavior to bring them to the right path.
The objective was to teach them the error of their ways and help them understand not only the consequences but the proper way. It was to bring them to an understanding that their actions not only affected them, their parents but frequently other people as well. It was to enable them to develop a solid foundation and moral base upon which to build their lives.
For the most part, our penal institutions are designed for punishment rather than discipline. Most of our churches administer neither for fear of losing a member and not fully understanding either the authority of the church or the responsibility of the church in this area. Too often, when the Lord disciplines us, we accuse Him of punishing us and develop a mentality of God as this Giant Ogre who is waiting for us to slip up just a little so He can whack us over the head.
I remember as a child hearing the phrase when we were acting up, “God’s watching and He’s going to get you for that.” God’s objective is not to get us for that but to reconcile us to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ the Righteous. God is more interested in reconciliation than condemnation. He is more interested in restoration than retribution. God wants us to be Free and live in the “Peace that passes all understanding” not live in “Fear that is torment and paralyzes.”
Therefore, when the Lord disciplines you do not despise it, reject it, resist it, but embrace it, learn from it, and allow it to move you ever closer to His presence, person, and character. You do not want to experience punishment those standing at the Great White Throne will know that. Satan knows that. The Angels that fell know that. The demons know that.
Know that God’s discipline is based on love with the desire to bring you to Him in a greater measure and a deeper relationship. It is to teach you His character, His heart, His love, and His way. Love is the basis of discipline. You will experience it and it is important that you understand the difference between discipline and punishment. It never means that God is through with you, it means He sees enough in you to continue to invest His time, energy, and effort to bring you into total conformity to His image. It is a sign of His love! Rejoice in it and be thankful.
May God richly bless you as you move past whatever obstacle is in your way and move toward the prize of the High Calling!