My son, Bryce, is seven. Up to this point, he hasn’t warranted any severe discipline from me. Most of the time, just giving him a look or a serious word of caution has been sufficient. But, I imagine the day is coming when a more stringent measure of discipline will be necessary. And it will be painful.

Painful? Yes, painful –for him; but mostly for me.

Who really wants to see their child hurting or suffering? Even more, who wants to be the one to cause their own child to suffer pain?

Of course, we all know that the pain of discipline is meant to avoid the greater pain of rebellion. In the same way a control burn is performed to prevent the spread of a forest fire, the controlled pain of discipline purposes to stop the wildfire of disobedience and rebellion.

Discipline, then, is an extreme measure of love. While the recipient of discipline may feel that they are being treated unfairly or without love, nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, in Leviticus 26, God pronounces warnings to wandering Israel regarding the punishment for disobedience. One of the greatest punishments listed is subjecting his children to captivity and bondage by another nation. This ends up happening later as Israel and Judah are taken captive by Babylon and Assyria.

You can imagine how painful it must have felt for God’s people to endure such pain. After all, aren’t they supposed to be God’s chosen? Aren’t they his treasured possession?

But in the midst of his warnings of captivity, God explains; “Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God” (Leviticus 26:44).

Even in the midst of the most painful discipline, God still loves His children. His discipline is for their good and for his glory! He uses discipline to direct our hearts back to Him. He will not break His covenant with them. Amazing love!

For His children, God’s discipline cannot be confused with the damnation for His wrath. All of the punishment and damnation for sin was placed upon His Son, Jesus, on our behalf.

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). However, there is much discipline for those He loves (Hebrews 12:6).

I imagine, when the day comes that I must execute greater discipline for my son, it will be incredibly difficult for both of us. In the midst of the discipline, however, it is my desire to make it crystal clear that I love him and am acting for his good –the same way God loves and disciplines me.