Though not a favorite subject of mine, the topic of discipline is important as it pertains to child education, law/gospel instruction, and general parental thingys. We should not fear doing good as parents when we discipline. Yet, we must also not provoke our children to wrath.
In Godly discipline, one restores the other. In Fatherly discipline, one takes the lead role in both administering the necessary punishment and bringing about reconciliation. The following is an excerpt from The Lord's Prayer: A Family Devotion.
Sinful behavior hurts relationships. We sometimes communicate this to Kenzie by sending her to her bed. This is one of our regular alternatives to spanking. It mirrors Biblical “exile” and communicates all of the same essential truths. Whether the relationship is with her mother, her brother, or me, I instruct her, communicate my love, and initiate the restoration of the broken relationship. Restored fellowship is the goal. In the prophets, God spoke about going to the “north country” to gather His people together and bring them home (Jer. 31:8). We picture this to her when we bring her back from her bed into the presence of her family. More than ever, we must remember not to “despise” or “be weary” of the Lord’s discipline (Prov. 3:11) and to reflect the heavenly Father’s discipline with our children (Eph. 6:4).
Connecting the broken relationship with the discipline can change behavior. We learn to love our Father then live like Him. In Proverbs, this type of discipline is even spoken of as saving a person (Prov. 23:14). This discipline reflects God’s concern for our spiritual well-being. And when God disciplines, it’s perfect and effectual.
In Hebrews, we learn that God’s true children endure discipline (Heb. 12:7-11). Even though it may “seem painful,” God does this for “our good.” His discipline instructs us in holiness and develops the “fruit of righteousness” (Phil. 1:11). When we turn to our heavenly Father in the Lord’s Prayer, we open ourselves to discipline. If this language concerns us, then we might have lost sight of the Father’s providential and loving discipline. As Calvin said, “Nothing is more advantageous to us than such instruction.” In due time, we will enjoy righteousness and peace because we are truly loved by God (Ps. 94:13-14) but for now we need the Father’s discipline.