The Goal of Discipline

January 20, 2023 (15 days ago)

I was very happy to be married. I was very nervous to be a parent. While Diane was expecting our firstborn, as you can probably imagine, I read a book. The title eludes me but the effect remains with me. Sadly, I didn’t know what the goal of parenting was other than survival. I believed many lies about parenting foisted upon me by our culture and the spirit of the age. I was happy to learn that the goal of parenting was to maintain a loving relationship with a view to Christ-like character. This was the base-line, the foundation, and most important, the will of God. As the goal of parenting, it was also the goal of discipline. I learned that discipline included the mundane elements of bedtimes and chores and the more complicated elements of punishment. Parenting is hard. Children are complicated. I look back on my years as a parent with some regret. We didn’t get a practice run, we had one shot to get it right. We didn’t get it all right. Sometimes I was selfish. I wanted the kids to do things right for my sake, to make my life easier. Sometimes I punished them in anger. Thankfully, both of our sons received Christ and with Him the Heavenly Father. He’s a better Dad than I ever was but at least we have the same goal. The Father wants to remain in a loving relationship with His kids and help them become like His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. This is the goal of the Father’s discipline; He draws us in, keeps us close and tenderly works to bring our character into harmony with His own. I too am a child. I am under the loving hand of the Father. My training is still underway and I’m glad I know His goal. Wanting what He wants makes the pain more tolerable and hopefully more productive. Do you know His goals for you?