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Parents have a responsibility to discipline their children when they do wrong, but any punishment involved must arise out of love. The punishment is therefore better called chastisement. Parents who love their children will not ignore their children’s wrongdoing, but will deal with it (Hebrews 12:6-9; cf. 2 Samuel 7:14-15; Psalms 89:26-33).

Chastisement should be both a penalty for wrongdoing and a form of training. It should teach children to avoid what is wrong and do what is right, and so develop lives that are useful to themselves and to others (Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 23:14; Proverbs 29:15). Parents, when chastising their children, therefore should act with proper understanding and without bad temper (Ephesians 6:4).

As parents correct and train their children, so God disciplines his children. Such discipline is proof to believers that they are God’s children and that he loves them (Deuteronomy 8:5; Proverbs 3:11; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 3:19). God’s purpose in disciplining his children is to correct their faults, teach them obedience, and make them more into the sorts of people that he, in his superior wisdom, wants them to be (Psalms 94:12; 1 Corinthians 11:32).

In carrying out this purpose, God may send his people various trials, such as suffering, defeat and loss. Sometimes these trials may be punishments for specific sins, but at other times they may not have any direct relation to wrongdoing (Psalms 38:1-4; Psalms 118:18; John 9:1-3; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). They are simply the means God uses to remove imperfections from his people and bring them closer to the fulness of growth he desires for them. Because he loves them, he will be satisfied with nothing less than their perfection (Ephesians 5:25-27; cf. Hebrews 5:8-9; see also SUFFERING; TESTING).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Chastisement'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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