Discipline, part 1

“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.”
-Hebrews 12:11

Our family was at a special Sunday evening church service. Our oldest daughter did not want to be there. Her behavior was crying out for correction; both she and I knew that correction would have to be delayed until we returned home. Somehow, despite our warnings and instruction, her attitude worsened.

Later, at home, it was time for me to administer the discipline. Now she was repentant. We talked about why she still had to endure this and what the consequences of her actions would be. And she turned to accept them.

This was one of the hardest things I have had to do in raising my children. Then I remembered what happened at the end of the evening at church. After having all of the children removed to another room, our pastor presented a short teaching on church discipline. Then he, and the elders, laid out for everyone the sin in which one of our members was involved. Finally, they named the member, someone who grew up in our church, but apparently had not been trained by discipline. I was not willing to let this happen to my child. I administered the discipline.

As soon as it was over, I took our daughter into my arms and held her and prayed with her as she cried. Tears welled up in my eyes, and my voice cracked as I prayed that she would never have to endure the public humiliation and pain of church discipline, but that this training would produce a harvest of righteousness and peace in her.

The immediate pain quickly faded, but as the sting of the discipline lingered we talked about what had happened that night. Without any of the details, my daughter learned about what can happen if you don’t allow the pain of discipline to train you while you are still young: it becomes more painful, more public, and affects more people.

It is our prayer for our children that our discipline will train them, producing a harvest of righteousness and peace.