Thursday, April 23, 2009

When Leading is Tough

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death. (Proverbs 23:13-14 NIV)

"Discipline" (the KJV reads "correction") is not always negative. We can correct or disciple (train) people in a positive manner.

You can show someone how to handle a paint brush: "Do it like this."

We have a toddler at our house three days a week who has recently learned how to use a spoon. Someone showed her how to use it in order to feed herself.

That's discipline that is positive.

But sometimes correction or discipline can be painful.

I looked up the word "punish" that the NIV uses in Proverbs 23:13. I wondered if "punish" was the best word choice. I thought there might be something "softer" implied.

But the KJV doesn't soften the translation at all. It goes the other direction. "Beat" is the word used there!


Why beat or strike a child?

Because your angry? Never.

Because you want to take out your frustration? No way!

The goal is stated in the last line:

save his (or her) soul from death

It's one thing to teach a child to use a paint brush correctly. It's another thing to make sure they know how to handle a chain saw or drive a car.

If you mishandle a paint brush you might end up with unwanted streaks and drips.

If you mishandle a chain saw or a vehicle weighing several thousand pounds, some one could end up maimed or someone could die.

Getting the lesson on the paintbrush is optional. Getting the lesson on the chain saw or the car is vital.

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul writes they are to expel a member who has been intentionally, continually misbehaving and breaking commandments.

Why hand this man over to Satan? that the flesh may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:5 NIV).

The goal is not punishment.

Punishment is a tool.

THE GOAL is salvation, restoration, and God's will being able to happen in this man's life and the life of the Church.

Sometimes leadership (parenting and other forms) can be tough.

Nobody likes to have the difficult conversation or say the hard thing.

But if we keep THE GOAL in mind, God will give us wisdom and strength (and the heart that desires the best for that person) as we seek to do God's will in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Grace & peace

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