Dana Grindal

Godly Discipline versus Punishment

As children of God we have been rescued from the punishment of our sins through our salvation in Jesus. He bore our shame. He paid the price. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Many people struggle in their walk with God because they have an unhealthy fear of Him. The discipline they experienced from their earthly parents was not Biblical discipline but punishment. This skews their perspective of God as a loving Father and keeps them bound to shame, often emotionally at the age they were most deeply wounded. This skewed perspective keeps them from maturing into men and women of honor and integrity who obey Gods precepts from the heart of valuing the relationship, not out of fear of punishment.

DISCIPLINE is actually PUNISHMENT anytime it involves shaming words, verbal, physical or emotional abuse, consequences that are greater than the crime, unexpected consequences for actions the child did not know was wrong, or consequences greater than is age appropriate developmentally. If you experienced this type of punishment growing up, there is healing available to you through Jesus.

Both discipline and punishment teach obedience and respect of authority. Both can be painful. Yet the fruit of them in the life of the child is very different. Below is the list of fruit from each as described in Scripture.
  • Loved
  • Fearful
  • Accepted
  • Insecure
  • Good
  • Harm
  • Peace
  • Anger
  • Diginity
  • Shamed
  • Blessed
  • Cursed
  • Training
  • Control
  • Righteousness
  • Vengeance
Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law; (Ps. 94:12).

…because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in (Prov. 3:12).

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Heb. 12:5-6).

They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12:10).

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear
, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:17-18).

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority (2 Pet. 2:4-10).

If you are seeing more of the fruit of punishment in your life than the fruit of discipline, THERE IS HOPE. Let these Scriptures become a prayer for you to begin the conversation of healing your heart.

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