Everyone hates being disciplined. Especially adults. (Especially me.) I have always felt that I’ve gotten in trouble for everything wrong I’ve done. I once got a ticket for going 66 mph in a 60 mph zone. Are you serious? I was super-nice, respectful, and everything. I got in trouble in school a lot for talking too (but that actually seems pretty reasonable in retrospect.) But being disciplined is a good thing, and not being disciplined is a bad thing. Here’s what I mean:
To Be Disciplined Means You Are Loved and Valued and Someone Has Future Plans for You.
I love my kids and I want them to be productive people when they grow up, and I don’t want them to run into traffic before that time comes. They are the most important people in the world to me. Thus, I discipline them. I want them to be safe first and foremost so them doing something destructive gets corrected for sure. Second, I want them to be able to interact with those in authority over them and just other people in general. Whatever they end up doing in life, it usually will involve people. I’m excited to see what the future holds for my kiddos. God honestly works the same way. When we engage in sin, it will eventually destroy us. Sin demands more of us than we were ever willing to give. Because God loves us, He disciplines us to keep us on the straight-and-narrow. Also, as a parent I have to guess what my kids will be in the future (I doubt it will be Wonder Woman and a Princess, but I could be wrong), yet God knows exactly what we need to be prepared for. If we are falling short of what we will need to become, He can discipline us to get us back on track. It’s all because He loves us, sees value in us, and is literally preparing our futures for us.
To Never Be Disciplined Means He Is Uninterested or Has No Stakes in You
When some rando kid is being a monster brat in a grocery store, my reaction just depends on how cynical I am that day. On the one end of the spectrum, I’m just thankful I don’t have to deal with that kid. On the other end, I blame the parent for creating that child both biologically and socially. (Even though I just blame my own kids when they are acting that way.) Either way, I don’t have anything in me that wants to discipline that kid. Honestly, I don’t care enough to do the amount of work necessary to correct that little devil. I know that discipline is not a momentary thing. It is a long, continual, consistent process. I only want to do it, if I have long-term stakes in the person I’m disciplining. If you have enough love for the person, you are willing to take the time necessary to deal with all the stresses of disciplining. So I guess the truth is, with a large majority of the people on this planet, I’m just not personally invested enough. So here’s the real gut-puncher. If you get away with absolutely everything, and you get in trouble for absolutely nothing, what’s your assumption on how God feels about you? I know I would be worried that God wasn’t interested in me growing as a person and had no plans for me in His Kingdom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that or speaking for God in any way. I’m just saying I’d be worried if I never felt God’s discipline whether in the form of massive guilt leading to repentance or me getting caught despite me trying to avoid such nuisances. God’s discipline might take many forms, but it’s not meant to be hidden. God will want you to know it is He who is convicting.
I pray always for the mind of God. Having to deal with discipline issues as a human is really hard. I don’t know what’s really going on in their heart. What I do know is that if I see people in sin, they are rarely content. It demands they expose others to that sin as well. This is why discipline as an action of God must also be an action of godly people. We are protecting not only the person (for God often times uses people to bring about gentle discipline), but we are also protecting the Christian community. The most impossible task in the world is trying to figure out how patient to be for the individual to repent at the expense of them bringing other people into their sinful lives. Discipline is inconvenient for the sinner, but might be more painful for the discipliner.