The following is an excerpt a devotional I wrote for the upcoming May-June ’12 issue of Bible Study Magazine. You can subscribe to BSM through their website, or find the current issue for sale in Barnes & Nobles stores across the country.

I turned in my discipline card after a vegetable showdown with a 7-year-old, and enrolled in the business of bribery. Twinkies and potato chips supplemented Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Strawberry Nesquik purchased fickle, childish goodwill. While I liked my young charges, I didn’t love them enough to stand up to them.

Parents want to instill boundaries because they want their children to grow up into healthy, balanced people who can both give and receive love. They withstand the demands of their children and discipline them when needed. Proverbs 3:11 tells us why:

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

The goal of discipline is not to punish. Though some people fail at this, true discipline isn’t an expression of anger, and it isn’t designed to cause harm. True discipline corrects, sparks change, spurs on growth, and helps us become better people. Parents, motivated by love for their children, actually endure the pain of enforcing discipline, while lesser mortals can’t be bothered.