What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?1 Corinthians 4:21
Maybe you heard one of your parents say it or maybe you’ve uttered these words yourself as you prepared to discipline a child- “This is going to hurt me more than you” – just before a spanking. It’s an old-fashioned term these days, but Proverbs 13:24 reminds us “whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
Notice that the verb is to discipline, not to punish. Zig Ziglar wrote that “we need to understand the difference between discipline and punishment. Punishment is what you do to someone; discipline is what you do for someone.”
Even as adults, we sometimes need to be disciplined and that is what Paul is about to do “for” the Corinthian church as he courageously addresses sexual immorality in the church.
How do you respond to discipline? When a pastor’s words convict? When a good friend challenges you? Our response tells much about us, so keep in mind the words from Hebrews –
“Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they 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.”
Hebrews 12: 9-11