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Discipline or Punishment?
Psalm 6
by Scott Owings

“do not...discipline me in your wrath.”
      Psalm 6

As children of God, we do not want what we deserve. Who among us wants to receive tit for tat when we mess up? Who can say, “not guilty,” when it comes to following God’s perfect and holy law?

When we wander off the path that God has marked with his laws, it must certainly grieve our Father in heaven. At times, he must certainly be tempted to punish us in his anger. As a loving Father, however, we can be assured that while God disciplines his children, he will not punish obedient children in his anger.

The difference between discipline and anger is simply this: discipline is done for the child’s good, to get them back on the path of right living. Punishment, on the other hand, is usually an impulse response, wrought in anger and intended to bring immediate pain. Though discipline is seldom painless, God our Father disciplines with thought of how he wants our best in the future.

As parents, there are many times when our children make us angry and we may want to immediately punish them for their inappropriate actions and give them what we think they deserve at that moment. We must refrain, however, from punishing them in our anger. We must hold back our anger. When we are tempted to mete out punishment in our anger, we must remember the cry of the psalmist: "do not discipline us in your wrath." Of course, this does not mean that we let our children live as they please. That wouldn’t be love either. Rather, we should discipline our children while in control; for their good and not out of our anger or frustration.

1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath.

2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.

3 My soul also is struck with terror, while you, O Lord how long?

4 Turn, O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.

5 For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?

6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.

7 My eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all my foes.

8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.

9 The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.

10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror; they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

© 1998 by HEARTLIGHT® Inc. Bible text is from The New Revised Standard Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989). Used by permission


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