Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray
I think this wise saying has real value for our world today. At issue is our response to “discipline” and “correction.”
From both my upbringing and theological training I’ve tended to see both of these terms in a very negative light — it had to be punitive. Although, I’ll also admit, I just might not have understood the message as it was being communicated to me!
But an examination of both the Hebrew terms for “discipline” and “correction,” as well as a look at how they’re used in the Old Testament, suggests a slightly different take on the subject — at least for me.
Our English word “discipline” comes from a Latin word for training — it’s the same root for our English word “disciple.” Discipline is not so much about punishment as it is about training and education.
In fact, the Hebrew term translated “discipline” here is just as frequently translated “instruction” in the Old Testament.
Can a training regimen or rigorous instruction feel like punishment? Absolutely! But it’s not really about that.
And, any of us who won’t receive “discipline” well, will also have trouble experiencing “the way of life” as it’s supposed to be.
“Correction” is more about being “called to account” — being “rebuked”. That’s really not the same as punishment, either. It’s not a beat-down, or even having our knuckles smacked with a ruler!
Today we actually call the concept of these two terms “tough love” and “accountability.” And no one will do well in life without them.
So — while I still don’t really appreciate “discipline” or “correction” all that much — it’s actually very good for me. Like broccoli…which I’m not that fond of, either!