How Do You View Discipline?
1-4. (a) Why are we all prone to make mistakes? (b) Besides lack of knowledge, what else gives rise to mistakes?
YOU probably know someone—maybe a fellow student or even a teacher—who never admits to making a mistake or being wrong. How do you feel about someone like that? Would your opinion of him go up or down if one day he came right out and said, “I’m sorry; I see I was wrong”?
2 Really, we all make mistakes, don’t we? None of us are perfect or faultless. The Bible tells us that. It shows that, due to our first parent Adam’s disobedience, all men are born with an inheritance of imperfection, sin. The Bible explains that “through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”—Romans 5:12.
3 Some mistakes come from just ‘not knowing.’ But not all do. Many mistakes are because of not caring. For example, a passenger in an airplane might pay no attention when the stewardess explains the use of life jackets or of the plane’s oxygen supply. If, as a result, the passenger failed to make use of these provisions in an emergency and lost his life, it would not be simply because he didn’t know. Rather, he didn’t care to know.
4 So not all wrongs can be chalked up to simple error. Willful ignorance is often the cause. Worse, a person may do what he knows is wrong—excusing himself for one reason or another.
5, 6. (a) Why is correction beneficial to both young and old? (b) What is the objective of discipline? (Proverbs 1:1-4)
5 All of this shows the need for discipline, which involves correction. We all need correction, whether we are young or old. In fact, if there were no discipline or correction there could be no progress in any field of human living. People would keep on making the same mistakes, believing the same wrong ideas, never advancing in knowledge or ability.
6 But did you know that discipline means more than just correction? It can also be training that molds, strengthens, or makes better. Discipline is properly given with a view to correction and improvement for the future.
WHY HARD TO TAKE
7-9. (a) Why is discipline often hard to take? (b) How can this be overcome?
7 But if discipline is so beneficial, why do most persons find it so hard to take? It’s really for the same reason that causes us to need discipline in the first place, namely, our imperfection. Discipline can easily make us feel embarrassed or it may hurt our pride. Note, however, the other side of the picture as explained by the apostle Paul: “True, no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.”—Hebrews 12:11.
8 Humility takes most of the sting out of discipline. However, many persons let pride and stubbornness cause them to resist discipline. But when the correction or reproof is well founded, the person who stubbornly rejects it simply makes himself look foolish in the eyes of others. God’s Word says: “Wisdom and discipline are what mere fools have despised.”—Proverbs 1:7.
9 In contrast, we read: “Give a reproof to a wise person and he will love you.” Why? Because he knows that through correction “he will become still wiser.”—Proverbs 9:8, 9.
HOW WILL YOU REACT?
10-12. (a) As shown at Proverbs 19:20, how can discipline affect our lives? (b) Why does God discipline us? (Hebrews 12:5, 6) (c) Who is authorized to give us discipline?
10 The real question is: What do you want to do with your life? Do you just want to drift along? Or are you willing to work toward a worthwhile future? How do you view this matter? Do you agree with God’s Word, which advises: “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, in order that you may become wise in your future”?—Proverbs 19:20.
11 Whatever your viewpoint, sometime in life you are bound to receive discipline. And you will find it more pleasant and easy to take if you keep in mind that it is God’s arrangement. He provides discipline because he loves us and wants to help us to improve. So the Bible says that anyone who hates discipline is, in effect, ‘throwing God’s words behind him.’—Psalm 50:17.
12 Discipline rightly comes from an authorized source. Who do you believe is in the best position to administer discipline to younger persons? God has assigned that job to parents, for they are responsible for their children’s lives. And, within the Christian congregation, God has provided spiritually “older men” who are “able both to exhort by the teaching that is healthful and to reprove those who contradict.”—Titus 1:5-9.
13-17. If we are inclined to resent discipline, what thoughts might we call to mind that can help us to readjust our thinking? (Proverbs 4:1, 2; 13:24; 15:32)
13 How do you react to discipline from your parents? Many youths resent it, at least for a time, even to the point of leaving home on that account. If you are upset over someone’s giving you counsel or reproof, stop and ask yourself: Why did they take the time and effort to do it? In most cases, though not all, you know that giving reproof is not exactly pleasant for them. They do it because they care enough about you to make the effort. That alone should make you think seriously about what they say.
14 True, it takes strength to face up to our mistakes. And it takes humility to accept discipline, especially if you feel that it was not called for. But if you take it quietly and do not kick against it, you will likely profit by it, and this will ease the situation.
15 Remember, too, that those offering discipline likely are not trying to “hobble” you so that you are cramped in walking life’s highway. Rather, they probably are trying to help you to make progress. Wise discipline protects against harmful accidents, keeps you free from things that will tie you up with problems, making your way difficult. If you accept correction, the Bible promises: “When you walk, your pace will not be cramped; and if you run, you will not stumble. Take hold on discipline; do not let go. Safeguard it, for it itself is your life.”—Proverbs 4:10-13.
16 Of course, you don’t need to wait for others to correct you. You can practice self-discipline. By being alert, you can recognize many of your own mistakes and take steps to correct them.
17 Many benefits come from being receptive to discipline. To admit mistakes in a straightforward way gives you a better feeling inside. It strengthens your heart and mind for what is right. It makes for good relations with others; they accept you as being honest, humble and balanced, refreshingly different from so many others today. Above all, it is essential for bringing you into a good relationship with Jehovah God and keeping you there. It also can assure you of a lasting and happy future. Yes, “the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”—Proverbs 6:23.
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When you are given correction, how do you react?