Love and Discipline

In Hebrews 12:6 we find a citation of Proverbs 3:11,12: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” The author then elaborates the point (verses 10-11), “For they [earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Yet the question of discipline can divide Christians. Some promote discipline as a lifestyle of true godly devotion; and others discover discipline in God’s love, as it may be needed. Some make it an end in itself: the stuff of a strong faith. Others see it as God’s initiative: his pruning shears that ensure more fruit in a growing faith.

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