“whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3)
Years ago, when my kids were still toddlers, I was wrestling with how to discipline my children. On the one hand, I feared that the old “be cruel to be kind” approach was more likely to breed resentment and rebellion than love and obedience. On the other hand, the modern “let them go” approach suggests any discipline is a cruel denial of children’s rights. (PS: Why focus on rights? After all, unless we focus on responsibilities, the only rights we’ll end up with will be our last rights!)
Anyway, confused as I was by these extremes, the one thing I did know was this: if my kids don’t learn to heed me when they’re toddlers, they sure won’t when they’re teenagers.
Then I learnt about God’s way:
- a quick arrest (conducted privately and out of love, not revenge),
- followed by a confession (“I did wrong”),
- then repentance (“I’m sorry, I won’t do it again, please forgive me”)
- and finally forgiveness and reconciliation (“I forgive you”).
Our Father delights in us. Let’s practise and be subject to His loving discipline rather than the cruel and uncaring extremes of the world.