Discipline vs. Punishment
God said, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline."1
Nine-year-old Al had disobeyed his father who, as a strict disciplinarian, sent him with a note to a police station in London. When Al came in late after curfew, his father met him at the door and handed him a note and said, "Take it to the jailhouse."
Al was terrified.
"The officer, a friend of his father, opens the note, reads it, and nods,. 'Follow me.' He leads the wide-eyed youngster to a jail cell, opens the door, and tells him to enter. The officer clangs the door shut. 'This is what we do to naughty boys,' he explains and walks away…. The jail sentence lasts only five minutes. But those five minutes felt like five months. Al never forgot that day. The sound of the clanging door, he often told people, stayed with him the rest of his life.
"The fear of losing a father's love exacts a high toll. Al spent the rest of his life hearing the clanging door. That early taste of terror contributed to his lifelong devotion to creating the same in others. For Al—Alfred Hitchcock—made a career out of scaring people."2
True, discipline is important, but it always needs to fit the crime. Some children are impaired for life because of severe punishment as a child. Others are left terrified if they were beaten severely or abused. It is imperative that parents never discipline out of anger because that is punishment, not discipline. Discipline always needs to be in love.
Those whom God loves, he disciplines in love—not punishes in anger. We need to do the same with our children.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that when you discipline me it is always out of your love for me and for my good. Help me to do the same when disciplining my children. May it always be in love and never out of anger. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Revelation 3:19 (NIV).
2. From UpWords from Max Lucado, www.maxlucado.com