Punishment and Discipline: There Is a Difference
"Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves." (Proverbs 19:18 NCV)
If you love somebody, you're going to care enough to correct that person. Hebrews 10:6 says, "The Lord corrects the people he loves and disciplines those he calls his own" (CEV).
There are no perfect children. They need discipline, accountability, and training. Just as God disciplines us because he loves us, we should do the same for our children.
If you are a believer, God does not punish you, because all your sin was paid for on the cross. God doesn't have to punish you, because Jesus took that punishment. God does not punish Christians for their sins.
But he does discipline them. There's a big difference between punishment and sin.
The purpose of punishment is to inflict penalty. The purpose of discipline is to promote growth.
The focus of punishment is on the past - what you've done wrong. The focus of discipline is on the future - what you can be.
The attitude behind punishment is anger. The attitude behind discipline is love.
God doesn't want you to punish your kids. He wants you to discipline them. In fact, when you correct in anger, it always producers one thing: resentment. What God says to do is to correct while looking toward the future, making sure the mistake won't be repeated. Focusing on the future is redemptive, not destructive.
The Bible says in Proverbs 19:18, "Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves" (NCV). You are setting your kids up for failure if you don't correct them.
Talk It Over
- Do a self-evaluation on each of these elements: compassion, counsel, and correction.
- How would you rate yourself when it comes to unconditional love? Would you say about your kids, "My love is totally based on their performance" or "I always love them unconditionally"?
- How are you doing with counsel? Are you teaching your kids what's right and what's wrong? Are you praying with them and encouraging them to read the Bible?
- What about correction? Have you learned how to correct without condemning? How to discipline without destroying?