“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11[expander_maker id="2" more="Read more" less="Read less"]
As we continue our discussion on discipline, we need to consider the part punishment may have in the process. There are two types of punishment: retributive and redemptive.
Retribution or manipulative punishment is inflicted as a raw act of vengeance. The deliverer of this sort of punishment is usually angry and emotional. The only ‘training’ occurring in these circumstances is in how to be coerced, and forcibly controlled. That punishment is ungodly, with roots in the kingdom of darkness.
Redemptive punishment can be used as one of the many tools for Godly discipline and training. And though Jesus is fully God, He endured such training as the Son of God, while also embracing the human training you and I might experience. The writer of Hebrews 5:8 tells us Jesus “was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Jesus chose to endure all aspects of being human, including submitting to a season of training.
As a teenager, through an angry act, I unintentionally separated a teenage girl’s knees from her lower legs. I had been playing sandlot football with a bunch of buddies. Several girls, including Sandy, were watching. When the ball went out of play, Sandy grabbed it and ran off. I chased her down with a vicious tackle. Instead of exercising wisdom and controlling my emotions, they controlled me. Sandy came home from the base hospital a few days later. I was horrified but remained silent, thinking to hide my sin. Eventually, her parents informed my parents. Turns out, Sandy liked me and was attempting to get my attention. My Chief Master Sergeant father used this as a training moment.
Instead of yelling or applying a wooden rod, my father used an appropriate tool. I was in JROTC at the time. Dad had me dress in full uniform, and he had me spend my own money on a box of candy and a bouquet of flowers. He then marched with me down the sidewalk, in broad daylight, to Sandy’s home. All the neighbors knew of the event, as they were outside on their stoops or looking out the windows. My poor, adolescent choice was on full display. But Dad walked right beside me.
Sandy’s entire family was waiting in their living room. I verbally asked forgiveness of Sandy and her entire family, presenting her with the candy, flowers, and as soon as she was out of her casts…a request for a date to go to the movies. Her family graciously forgave, and Sandy’s smile told me I would be buying movie tickets soon.
My Dad’s training that day was definitely ‘not joyful’. I would have rather he used a different rod. But Dad used the right, redemptive punishment that day. Since that October day at Sheppard AFB, I have never tackled another girl! It was a training step in how to control my emotions, so as to avoid harming others. I had a tangible tool, a better grasp regarding how a ‘man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.’
Daily Battlefield Order
Examine your outlook on training and discipline. Is it redemptive or manipulative? What we practice will be replicated. Look deep into yourself and see where you stand with your discipline. Are you willing to train and be trained redemptively? Godly training may include redemptive punishment. But Godly training always has the same goal and outcome for those who have submitted to its training. It yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Tomorrow we will focus on constructive corrective discipline vs. shaming.[/expander_maker]