Read 2 Corinthians 13
Focus on verse 9-10
In the absence of discipline chaos typically ensues. This is true of any organization or group regardless of size or purpose. Discipline is essentially the enforcement of a set of rules established and accepted by a society, group or institution. Occasionally when the discipline is too harsh, or is enforced unfairly, the many rise up in rebellion against the few. If the resistance is successful, the rules are altered and after a brief period of anarchy, order resumes as the new rules are accepted. The most effective discipline is motivated by restoration rather than revenge. When discipline is administered with a vengeful attitude it breeds bitterness and anger. On the other hand – when discipline is administered in a genuinely loving manner, restoration is often the result. In today’s reading Paul reminds the Corinthians that the purpose of his visit is to confirm that those he has been exhorting in regard to their sinful behavior have truly repented of their actions. He warns that if they have not – his visit will likely not be as pleasant as he hopes it will be.
For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. (v. 9-10)
It is never a pleasant duty for a figure of authority who genuinely loves those under his or her responsibility to be required to administer discipline. This does not make it any less essential, and while withholding the discipline might seem a more loving thing to do, it actually is more harmful to those in need of discipline.
A parent who loves his or her child disciplines the child exactly because they love the child and want what is best for the child. An undisciplined child will have as much or more difficulty in life than one that is abused by a parent who administers discipline in anger. One might even suggest that discipline administered in anger is not discipline at all but more like vengeful abuse. Parental discipline motivated by love will seek to correct and restore the relationship with the child.
This principle of lovingly administered discipline holds true whether it is a family, a church or a business. The enterprise, whatever it is, will be more successful if there is a clear understanding of acceptable behavior and consistent consequences for those who transgress.