No Pleasure in Punishment

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Joni and Friends
No Pleasure in Punishment

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”

Ezekiel 18:31-32

Fathers don’t take delight in punishing their children. Or at least, most dads don’t. My father used to say it hurt him to smack my backside with a spoon as much as it hurt me (I strongly doubted that at the time). However, what parent hasn’t experienced anger over the disobedience of a child? It goes wrong when that anger energizes the spanking. Some parents feel self-satisfaction in reaching for the rod.

God is different. We can say for certain that our heavenly Father never takes delight in punishing his children. He gets no kick from it. His anger is not quenched by it. He gains no satisfaction in it. So what energizes him when it comes to discipline? “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:10—11). This is God’s motive: our training. We are not his whipping post, no matter what our sin. We are his children, and he wants us to share in his holiness. It is in this he takes delight.

God is not a celestial killjoy who hides a club behind his back, hoping to catch one of his children in trouble so he can exercise his divine right to punish. According to today’s verse, God pleads with us to get a new heart regarding our sinful habits. He says, “Repent and live!” Good advice. “We have all had human fathers who disciplined us…How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!” (Heb. 12:9).

Thank you for disciplining me in faithfulness, Father. I need your strong hand in my life so I might share in your holiness. Thank you for keeping me in training.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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