As soon as I saw this picture pass by my newsfeed of this common sight in Guatemala...it made me think of the difference between discipline and punishment...
It seems that most people believe that discipline and punish are synonyms (as in they mean the same thing.) But, they are not and do not mean the same thing at all.
Let's look at it in this photo (which was posted by a Guatemala tourism fan site on Facebook.)
I don't know if this is two brothers...an uncle and nephew...or a man and his neighbor...or two random people...but it looks like a father and son...so this is the illustration we'll use...
The father appears to be teaching his son how to care for the family by gathering and bringing home what they call "leña" which they use for heating their stove to cook.
Dad could get the son to do this in 2 ways...by either inspiring cooperation or getting compliance from the child.
co·op·er·a·tion [koh-op-uh-rey-shuh n]
1. an act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit; joint action.
2. more or less active assistance from a person, organization, etc.
3. willingness to cooperate
4. Economics . the combination of persons for purposes of production, purchase, or distribution for their joint benefit
5. Sociology . activity shared for mutual benefit.
collaboration - contribution
com·pli·ance [kuh m-plahy-uh ns]
1. the act of conforming, acquiescing, or yielding.
2. a tendency to yield readily to others, especially in a weak and subservient way.
3. conformity; accordance
Cooperation is a thoughtful choice followed by an act to participate in something as an act of working together. Love inspires thoughtful willful acts of participating in your life. Love inspires cooperation. True discipleship can only be done in love. And, perfect love casts out fear.
Compliance is an act of yielding to another's will. Compliance is gained by having power over someone. Compliance is gained through fear. Fear is inspired by punishment, pain, and the threats of pain. Perfect love casts out fear...so if fear is the way of inspiring compliance then love is not part of the process...and since God IS love then God...is not a part of gaining compliance from your children through threats and use of pain/punishment.
Cooperative children want to be a part of your life. Want to please you. Want to work together with you...alongside you...because they love you. Cooperation flows from a healthy relationship. Cooperation is the fruit of not inspiring fear in your children. Cooperation is the fruit of not spanking.
Compliant children will do what you say because they fear punishment. Compliance requires no relationship. Compliance is the fruit of fear. Compliance is the fruit of spanking.
From the perspective of the One who has said, "Fear not!!!" which type of children is He looking for? Which type of Father is He?
Slave vs. Son
Would you say that slaves are cooperating with their masters or complying with orders?
Do your children cooperate or comply?
Are your children therefore your slaves...or your "sons?"
Which do you think is God's way?
Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. Gal. 4:7
I wonder if the tendency of Christians to default to, "Well, we just can't understand these things we just have to have faith! God's ways are higher than ours! His ways are mysterious!" stems from the fact that their parents focused on gaining their children's compliance rather than cooperation?
If the parents expected obedience and did not give the child room to protest (or think) over the years this would have trained them to be compliant to authority and to be OK with doing things without understanding them. It would have even gone so far as to train these kids that this is the right way and the way God is.
This, in my opinion, would be one more evidence of how when people like this claim that they were spanked and they turned out "OK" that no...they really didn't...because Jesus didn't die so that humans would say, "Yes Sir!" and march obediently and compliantly into heaven because we're afraid of the ultimate but whackin' (hell)...But that we'd cry out, "Daddy!" and run to God because we love Him!!!!
God wants people who are not afraid of hell because there's nothing that could keep them away from their Daddy God...not people who are running to heaven just because they're afraid of hell...
Which kind of parent are you?
Do your kids "do their chores" because they are inspired by you and love you and want to contribute to the home or because they know they'll get punished if they don't? Will they then someday run to God because they love Him or because they're afraid of hell?
Worth thinking about...