Blogging Through the Alphabet - Letter D Is for Discipline
Today, I will be looking at the word Discipline as we continue our Blogging Through the Alphabet series. Discipline can have either positive or negative connotations. How we Discipline can make all of the difference.
Merriam-Webster defines Discipline as 1. punishment 2. instruction 3. a field of study 4. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character 5. control gained by enforcing obedience or order; orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior 6. a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity.
When we look at the definitions and synonyms of Discipline we see that some are positive like teach, encourage, instruct, nurture, and refine while others are negative like criticize, punish, chasten, berate, and chide. While there are times we may need to punish our children for negative behaviors and dangerous choices they've made, we need to couple that with instruction on making wise choices and positive behaviors so that such situations can be avoided in the future.
In the Bible, Discipline in the Old Testament is seen more as a punishment from God. Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology states that, "God is portrayed as a father who guides his child to do right by the experience of physical suffering." In contrast, Discipline in the New Testament is seen more as the will power and dedication to train for and run the "good race" of Christian faith. According to Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Discipline in the New Testament is the belief that "the recurrent promise that instruction, submission to others, and experiences of pain will prepare the believer for greater righteousness and heavenly reward."
Galatians 6:1-5 provides insight for how the church should handle Discipline. The wrong-doer should be approached in private and the reproach should be gentle and edifying. The one doing the disciplining should be willing to readily forgive the wrong doer. Gentleness, edification, and forgiveness are all traits exhibited by Jesus who we as Christians are to exemplify. (Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology).
We have the power to build people up through instruction, teaching, gentle edification, nurturing, and refinement or we can tear people down with harsh chastisement, berating, public reprimand, and cruel punishment. When we exemplify Christ with gentle, patient instruction and nurturing, we make a lasting and life-changing impact with our children and those around us.
This post is linked-up with my Homeschooling friends A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool as part of Blogging Through the Alphabet.