Discipline vs. Punishment



Deuteronomy 8:5
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines
his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

Discipline means to instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct or "order." In the field of child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior"[1] (e.g. teaching a child to wash her/his hands before meals). Here, 'washing hands before meals' is a particular pattern of behaviour, and the child is being disciplined to adopt that pattern.


Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group.[1][2][3][4][5] The authority may be either a group or a single person, and punishment may be carried out formally under a system of law or informally in other kinds of social settings such as within a family.[2] Negative consequences that are not authorized or that are administered without a breach of rules are not considered to be punishment as defined here.[4]


I've been thinking a lot lately with the way 2 words growing up made an impact on me. I never really thought about it till I was older although I would hear my parents talk to other's regarding these two words.

I heard one of these words used the other day and it sounded so harsh because the way I was raised we defined these words differently. One was for love. The desire to help. I love how it was explained to me. God Disciplines His children. He does this because He loves us! Also, that we learn from our mistakes and turn to what would glorify and honor Him. Punishment is just to carry out the law. Correction isn't the ultimate goal.

What really has struck me is that Discipline is usually a word taken negatively. We hear the words and we cringe. This isn't the case though. It can also be such a positive thing. It's in the whole molding of our children. Same goes for how God is molding His children. He is disciplining us and directing us all for His glory! What other god would do this for their children? What other god would lay down their life for others. What a might God I serve, because, My God would!