Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do Discipline

Discipline isn't discipline when there is no restoration, it's punishment. And punishment isn't a godly example in any way shape or form.

This holds true whether you are disciplining as a parent, a pastor or a boss. If you never restore the one you have "disciplined" then you have completely missed the point of the discipline in the first place, and in all likelihood done far more harm than good.

If the one who is under the discipline walks away feeling condemned rather than convicted then you have to take a hard look at the process, more so than the person. It is the one who is in the position of authority over another who has the greater responsibility, not the one who needs the discipline. In reality, so often as leaders (parents, pastors, teachers, bosses) the reason for necessary discipline can in many ways be traced back to a lack of instruction. As the same authority who is responsible for the instruction as the discipline, we need to take a hard look at what we can do to correct what caused the fault/ failure/ sin in the first place.

The key to good discipline is love. And it isn't evaluated by how the one who doing the discipline INTENDS it, the love is defined by the one who receives it. Now granted this isn't a foolproof litmus test, some people don't receive correction well. The Bible describes those kind of people as "fools," but again, that would indicate a greater burden would fall to the one who is wise, the one who's job it is to correct, and to discipline.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

Proverbs 15:5

I believe this passage refers not only to actual physical parents, but spiritual parents as well (pastors, elders, teachers).

The origin of discipline is in the Lord, more specifically, in the LOVE of the Lord.

My son, do not despise the chastening (discipline) of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the LORD loves He chastens
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

Hebrews 12:5-6

But discipline always, always, ALWAYS should come with RESTORATION. I think of when Peter "sinned" against Jesus in his denial of Christ. It's an account in in the 21st chapter in the Book of John, and sincerely, for many reasons, it is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, including what I see in restoration. Three times Peter denied knowing Christ. It's an interesting dichotomy here of Christ's prophecy of it, could it have been a warning? If it was, it was one that Peter blazed right past. (I love that Peter, he gives me hope!) But either way, Peter committed the sin, and three times he denied Christ.

Peter's discipline was the natural consequence of the guilt and pain of committing the sin. (Sometimes, natural consequences, a parent's disappointment, seeing the pain one has inflicted IS sufficient discipline, other times a harsher consequence must be added on-- whole other blog post.) The reality is, Peter sinned THREE times, THREE denials of knowing Christ. And when Jesus came to the side of the sea and called out to Peter on the boat, I can't begin to imagine Pete's joy, because he saw standing there on the side of the sea, a second chance, of that I am certain. Old Pete put on his coat and dove right in to swim after it.

Next comes, to me, one of the most tender scenes in all the Bible. As Jesus sits down and has a conversation with Peter. I think there was more discipline here, because he asked Peter hard questions about whether or not Peter truly loved Him, and poor Peter felt the weight of his failure, but for the restoration of his failures, Jesus told him THREE times, to get back to doing what Christ had called him to in the first place, “Feed My lambs.” “Tend My sheep.” “Feed My sheep."

Oh glorious God, I could bawl my eyes out right here reading it! That is true restoration, restoring one to be able to serve and walk out his or her faith in the Lord! How many wounded walk away never to find their place in the family again because someone has not disciplined properly, and instead they have added to the list of the bitter and wounded, those hurt "by the church." The heart of God is not in the discipline, it is in the restoration! And that alone is the sole purpose of the discipline in the first place!!

We have to grab hold of this people. This is Truth, and as parents, pastors, leaders, teachers, we need to remember the power and responsibility to discipline another should be worn as a weighty burden, not lorded over others, but carried with fear and trembling. And if we are EVER called to do it, we have not done it properly unless we have completed the process with restoration.

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Galatians 6:1-3

The heard of God is always in the redemption, and the redemption is found only in the restoration. Praise be to the God who restores and redeems, let us each seek to be like Him.

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