A Little Discipline Goes a Long Way


My mom is a feisty woman, and I love her for it.  She is raising five sons, and all five are momma’s boys.  But make no mistake:  my momma can be mean!  As she says, “I love my kids, but I will not raise a brat.”  I like to say that my dad dispensed punishment very systematically.  

“You disobeyed this rule.  That gets 3 licks with the belt.  Go to your room, I’ll meet you there.”

With mom, it was more of a hurricane of fury.  She was a syllable smacker.

“I” (smack)
“said” (smack)
“no” (smack) (smack)

Dad spanked harder, but mom was more unpredictable…and that’s what made it fun.  :)  In the end, I’m glad my parents disciplined me.  As a student pastor, I find it curious when I see parents fighting for their kids right to be horrible.  They are the parents that argue with every teacher, defend every awful behavior, and make excuses for their kids.  This isn’t love - it’s misguided placating at best.  Real love sees the long-term.  Real love desires change.

In a “Never Tell Your Kids ‘NO’” Society, sometimes it is difficult to see God as He truly is.  He is neither task master or pushover.  He isn’t a hateful dictator, nor is He a weak deity.  He is Almighty God - deserving of all worship, honor, and praise.  He is filled with mercy, and yet, He is just!  Look what He tells His people in the book of Jeremiah:

Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
declares the Lord,
 for I am with you.
I will make a full end of all the nations
to which I have driven you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
I will discipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
Jeremiah 46:28 

God’s people were prone to the same grave mistake:  They took their standing with God for granted.  They assumed that because they were “God’s Chosen People,” they could do whatever the heck they wanted.  The Bible tells us, God’s people often took this thinking to its ultimate extreme.  The Jews (even after being rescued from Egypt, given the promised land, seen amazing provision, and enjoyed amazing prosperity and protection) routinely turned to idolatry.

Have you ever heard someone make a statement goes something like this:  "God won’t punish me for that.  God is love.“  It’s like we turn a twisted view of God’s love, and use it against Him.  It’s so fascinating to read Jeremiah 46:28 which reveals that God’s discipline is actually born out of His love.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives. 
Hebrews 12:6 

Aaron is the pastor of Spring of Life, a new church in Portland, Oregon. He's the owner of Amplify Creative.