The Balance Of Love And Discipline
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same. - (Romans 13:3)
God’s kingdom government works in such a way that it balances love and discipline.
Hebrews 12:6 says that God loves us but He disciplines us. Parents are to love their children enough to discipline them (see Ephesians 6:4). If you do not love your children enough to discipline them, you really do not love them at all. Church leaders are called to love their flock, but they are also called to correct the flock—even to the point of excommunication of unruly members (see 2 Thessalonians 3:11–15).
The civil government is to honor and praise people who do what is right (see Romans 13:3). But the government also has the responsibility to discipline and judge citizens who break the law (see v. 4).
All of God’s institutions marry love with discipline. The method of discipline for the family is the rod. The method of discipline for the church is the Communion table, accountability, and excommunication. The method of discipline for the government is imprisonment, fines, and capital punishment. God has given each governmental institution a disciplining mechanism that people might be led to self-government under Him or else suffer the appropriate consequences.
Love without discipline or accountability is not love at all. The definition of love is righteously and passionately pursuing the well-being of another. To allow someone whom you care about to continue in a lifestyle that is personally destructive to themselves is to not exercise love.
God’s covenantal principles carried out within the institutions of government ensure the productivity and peace for all involved.
Reflection: Why should we honor and respect authority? Think of the areas where you are an authority. How do you balance gentle love and discipline? Where have you gotten out of balance?
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