Exercising discipline seems so unpleasant! Why do we have to do it?
Parents who love their children have to enforce discipline on them.
Otherwise kids would engage in all kinds of self-destructive behavior. They would quickly become addicted to sweets, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, the Internet, pornography, etc. etc. They would play in the streets, stay up so late that they could not function during daylight hours, become sexually promiscuous at an early age, etc. etc. So parents must say "no" and be prepared to enforce it!
A system of government must also enforce discipline on its citizens. Otherwise they will take advantage of each other, hurt each other, etc. etc.
Similarly, God Himself enforces discipline on His children, because He loves us. "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." (Heb 12:6 ESV)
He engineers various circumstances into our lives designed to get our attention and draw us back to Him.
In the same way, He also requires that His church (in which members must love one another) administer discipline to communicate the seriousness and destructiveness of sin. When a church declines to exercise discipline, it is saying, "We don’t care that much about our members. We really don’t take sin seriously. We don’t think it is such a big deal. If one of us gets hurt by sin, well, that’s none of our business."
But God makes it very clear in Scripture that it is our business, and our responsibility, based on genuine love for one another. How does your church handle church discipline? Most churches today are terrified of the very thought of it! We’ll talk about the reasons for that (and how we need to respond to it) in a future post.