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.” NASU
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.” NASU
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 and “punishment” is the ultimate result of an offense of the rebellious that refuses to modify behavior, repent, and return to the correct path. It is punitive whereas discipline is administered with “reconciliation” as the primary focus. Hell is “punishment”. Chastisement is “discipline”. When my children 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, and 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 members and not fully understanding either the authority nor 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” that “retribution”. God wants us to be FREE and live in the “Peace that passes all understanding” not live in “Fear that 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 through the conclusion of your long weekend and move toward the goal of life!