Devotional: ‘God is Not a Permissive Parent’


Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

We live in a day when the concept of discipline and correction are often heavily frowned upon. Part of this is due to the fact that there have been times when an adult has used excessive force and abused a child. There is no excuse for abuse in any form; whether it is physical, verbal or emotional. Scripture never encourages the mistreatment of others. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us and that we should love others as we love ourselves.

Another reason for society’s resistance to correction and discipline is the ‘free love’ ideology that has been ingrained into our thinking. For over half a century we have been told that it is wrong to restrain any form of free expression.  A few years ago USAToday published the results of a survey that stated that although 92% of Americans believe there is a God, 78% says that there is no absolute standard of right and wrong. Of that group, only 29% use their faith as their basis for stating what is right and wrong. Rice University sociologist Michael Lindsay wrote – “Americans believe in everything. It’s a spiritual salad bar.”

Considering these statistics, it’s not hard to see why so many resist the concept of correction and discipline. Yet the Bible teaches us – “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives.” (CSB) A few years ago someone said to me – “God is not an abusive parent.” I thought for a moment and then I said – “I agree; but neither is He a permissive parent.”

There are several questions that we must answer in order to properly understand God’s disciplining of His children. First of all – ‘What is chastening?’ The biblical definition of chastening is:

  • The whole training and education of children
  • The cultivation of mind and morals
  • The correcting mistakes and curbing passions with the aim of increasing virtue

God’s chastening is more than an out of control parent venting their frustration. God’s chastening is for the purpose of helping us grow and become more like Him. God chastens His children so that they might experience the blessings of becoming a partaker of His divine nature.

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