“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order 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. – Hebrews 12:5b-11 (NIV)
In order to train someone to obey rules, do you feel that positive reinforcement towards good behavior or disciplinary action towards bad behavior is more effective? In the society in which we live there seems to be valid points on both sides. Perhaps you use a combination of both to bring about a course correction. Even still, perhaps the method you use is dictated by your mood at the time.
The people who use positive reinforcement believe that it is most effective because it builds the person up. They are against using disciplinary action because they feel that the person may resort to doing something bad for the sole purpose of getting attention. Those who use disciplinary action believe there has to be a “cost”, if you will, in order to bring about a lasting course correction. They typically base their stance on Proverbs 13:24 which reads, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
Nevertheless, God uses both methods. He knows our hearts better than we know ourselves thus He knows which method will work best in each particular instance. As a matter of fact, in God’s eyes even what we consider to be uncomfortable discipline is actually positive reinforcement. God does not view negative as do we. God has a one tract mind…to make us more like Jesus and to bring glory to His name.
Lord, help me to examine my conscience on a daily basis so that I will see the error of my ways and repent instantly so that my fellowship with You will be restored. I trust You enough to welcome You to use whichever method You deem necessary to shape and mold me to be more Christ-like.