DISCIPLINE IS NEITHER PUNISHMENT NOR PERFECTION
The Story of Sharon Bowman
“Push through the pain” was not the prescription she expected the orthopedic doctor to give to her that that morning having had excruciating pain in her leg for so long. She stopped exercise out of fear that whatever was “broken” or “torn” in her knee would become more damaged if she overburdened it. After many x-rays of her knee, the diagnosis came without hesitation that she had arthritis in her knees.
The bad news was that there was no cure for arthritis; the doctors can only treat the pain. The good news for her was that she could find significant relief from the pain by losing weight. The faster the weight comes off the knee, the faster she was to experience relief from the pain and of course, exercise remains a necessary ingredient to weight loss but she considered that a punishment. She however had to make the disciplined choice of going through the process of exercise or endure the pain. Yes, she chose exercise knowing fully well that even though the exercise will be painful, the pain was only going to help her experience relief later. This was a wise choice for her especially as the bible says
‘No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)
In a much similar way, I like you my reader to know that whatever discipline you are currently going through, as a student, or someone in training is not meant to punish you, but to develop you. No developed country you see today suddenly appeared on the horizon as developed, its citizens and people went through the process. Nigeria and other African nations must be ready to go through the process of development.
Discipline isn’t Perfection; It’s Progress
You should always remember that as humans, we all have weaknesses that we try to work on. However in the process of working on our weaknesses, there is a danger of feeling disappointed in ourselves when we try, fail, rise, try and fail again. In my many years of ministry, I have come across different types of people and I have counseled with quite a number of persons. Some of the issues people raise are similar to what apostle Paul identified in Romans 7:19
‘For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do’.
Many a times, you have decided to live a life of discipline in an area of your life, but in no time, you stumble, and fall. So many times, after struggling for a while, we give in to these struggles and probably give up, thinking we are simply not cut out for the life of discipline.
However, I wish to however let you know that such experiences are not out of this world. They are normal and expected because you are a work in progress. If you cooperate with God, you will get to overcome these weaknesses gradually.
You have to understand that the life of discipline is a work in progress, since you are human, you will have weaknesses, but you must be consciously dealing with them because our battle with discipline is going to be a life-long one.There will be a gap between who you really want to be and who you are at the moment, but your emphasis should be on closing the gap, that was why apostle paul said ‘I die daily’. If we forgive ourselves and strive for progress instead of perfection, our journey through the process of discipline will be more rewarding and successes will eventually fall in place because ‘success is a matter of understanding and religiously practicing specific, simple habits that always lead to success’.
Why Discipline is not Punishment
I said it earlier that discipline is not punishment and if discipline is not punishment, then I consider it very appropriate to distinguish between punishment and discipline. I am sure you were punished at one point or the other for an offence you committed and you have an idea of what it is.
Let me however say that punishment is a penalty that is imposed on someone for doing something wrong. It is a way of dealing with behaviors that include but not limited to the following: spoken punishment such as screaming, intimidating, name-calling and disparagement. The physical dimensions include: punishment, pinching, twisting arms, pulling ears, etc. Taking away favorite things such as keeping a bicycle away for a period when a child misbehaves or cutting off access to television when children can’t stop fighting over them. Punishment emphasizes previous misconducts and offers little or nothing to help a person behave better in the future.
Discipline on the other hand is a positive method of teaching people self-control, confidence, and responsibility. Discipline teaches you what behavior is okay and what behavior is not okay. It includes modeling and encouraging appropriate behavior. It involves setting limits and correcting misbehavior quickly and respectfully like using verbal re-direction or even a raised eyebrow. Like Stanley Greenspan said:
‘Good discipline is more than just punishing or laying down the law. It is liking children and letting them see that they are liked. It is caring enough about them to provide good, clear rules for their protection’
Discipline is a process, not a single act. It teaches one how to get along with other people. It means being consistent and firm but also kind and fair. It is about providing a trusting and loving atmosphere,
Sometimes, discipline might encompass “restitution’’. For example, if someone does a wrong thing and you mediate, such a person can be made to see reasons why some actions should be taken to make things right like zaccheus the tax collector did by returning monies he collected from people before he met Christ.
Discipline therefore does not mean punishment because punishment comes after you have done something wrong while discipline is a training giving to you so that you don’t do something wrong and so that you can do everything right.
Now you know that discipline does not equate punishment rather, it’s a process of becoming the right person for yourself. Let me further clarify the mist around discipline in regards of what it does not mean. This becomes imperative so that you don’t assume I am asking you to get punished when I talk about being disciplined.
To be continued Tomorrow, don’t miss it.
Excerpts from the Book “THE POWER AND FORCE OF DISCIPLINE FOR TRANSFORMING LIVES AND NATIONS”. #DSABOOKS
This book can be found on dsabooksplanet.com and Amazon.com
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja.