When people ask me about what my parents did right, one thing that I often tell them is that they always made it clear that they loved me and they always made it clear that there were certain expectations for my behavior and if I violated those standards, I would be punished. I never thought that because they loved me, they wouldn’t punish me. I never thought because they punished me, they didn’t love me. They held the truths of their love and their discipline in tension, and passed on that understanding to me.
Not only was this great parenting, but it was an excellent mirror of the way that God treats His children. As Psalm 89:31-33 reminds us:
if they violate my statues and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.
In other words, our actions don’t change the truth of Who God is. In the preceding verses, it is clear that despite David’s descendants’ future transgressions, God would remain faithful to the covenant He made. Similarly those that are His children by putting repenting and putting their faith in Jesus Christ, He loves, and He will discipline. Discipline is a result of His love, not a replacement for it.
Let those we are His rejoice then – even when we are the subject of the Lord’s discipline, we are still the object of His love.
Why is it important to remember that discipline is a result of God’s love?