Summary: Walking with God means we must be willing to mix discipline with compassion in the right ratios and in the right situations. There is a time to be firm and buckle down and a time to open your heart.

A Sane Perspective Upon Discipline and Compassion

(Proverbs 19:14-15, 17-18)

1. Discipline and compassion are connected. For example, if teachers do not keep a class under control, students cannot learn and that affects their futures.

2. A school teacher injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. It fit under his shirt and was not noticeable at all. On the first day of the term, still with the cast under his shirt, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in school.

Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with desk work. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.

He had no trouble with discipline that term.

3. The Bible emphasizes both compassion and discipline. We see both in Proverbs.

Main Idea: Walking with God means we must be willing to mix discipline with compassion in the right ratios and in the right situations. There is a time to be firm and buckle down and a time to open your heart.

I. Compassion: Relational Blessings Are Better Than MATERIAL Ones (14)

A. You can inherit much from your parents, but not a SPOUSE

• House and wealth indirectly come from the Lord, not directly

• But the point of the Proverb is that being blessed with a godly spouse who obeys the Lord is better than a wonderful house and great lands

B. A PRUDENT wife is a gift from God

1. An example would be Ruth; unknown to Boaz, but a godly woman with sense

2. This is in contrast to the contentious wife of Proverbs 19:13

3. We can obsess about our appearance that our inside is in shambles

4. Proverbs 31:30 is a good summary: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

5. The balancing point/discipline: We must seek to be prudent/godly:

I Peter 3:3-5, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands…”

Walking with God means we must be willing to mix discipline with compassion in the right ratios and in the right situations.

II. Discipline: Laziness Can Become A Vicious CIRCLE (15)

A. If we forsake routine, we get caught in an addicting CYCLE

B. SLEEP can become the norm and work a fear

• When a man is out of work, he can get trapped in this cycle

• Sleep then becomes an escape, a way to cope with depression

• Some people have a negative view of sleep; in Scripture, it is a blessing to sleep well; but good things can be taken to an extreme, as in this Proverb

• Then people view work as so awful and obligation as enslavement

• When it comes to ministry, some people do not want to get involved in something that requires a regular routine – same reason, inflated fear of confinement/imprisonment

C. LAZINESS is meant to bring poverty

• Proverbs 19:24, “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.”

• When we remove negative consequences, we remove motivation

Illustration: Humanitarian group in Africa; Filthy water, sewerage, disease

Built clean water and sewage system… months later, visited, back to square one


“And what did you expect? These people had been many years without clean water. Then you gave it to them for free in abundance. They took all they could use and more. The people did not work for those water stations. They do not own them, and they could not be persuaded to maintain them.”

The humanitarians were silent. The chief had spoken truth. The great gift alone had not been enough and the reasons could be clearly observed. Perhaps, it is human nature to abuse a gift. The humanitarians returned to their camp and thought long and hard about how they could help the villagers.

The next day the humanitarians returned, determined to rebuild the water and sanitation systems with the following conditions.

1. The villagers would have to pay for water and sanitation. Not more than they could afford, but there would be no gift giving this time.

2. A group of villagers would work with the contractors to build the system and would be taught how to repair every aspect of it. These villagers would in turn train others so the system would never fall into disrepair.

With these new conditions in place, the water and sanitation systems were restored. This time the people had respect for the systems because they owned them. This time they were able to repair the system when it broke down. To this day the villagers have plenty of clean water and live free of filth and disease.

The balancing point/compassion: we may need to mentor those trapped

III. Compassion: When We Help the Truly Poor, the Lord REPAYS Us (17)

A. The poor means the non-lazy, RESPONSIBLE poor

B. Poverty can be ABSOLUTE or relative

C. When we help the truly needy, the Lord SEES

Matthew 6:3-4, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

The repayment is not necessarily your money back

The balancing point/discipline Do not let people manipulate you via guilt

IV. Discipline: Discipline May Preclude A WASTED Life (18)

A. While a child, while yet HOPE

• Dobson advocates firmness from 18 months to age 3

• I recommend “Parenting Isn’t for Cowards” if you have a strong-willed child

• Families who migrate to the US have an accent, unless they are 5 and under…

B. Discipline involves STRUCTURE and PUNISHMENT

1. Structure is routine, consistency; war against ambiguity

2. Punishment can be a corrective word, a frown, or that eyebrow shift…

3. We have recently spoken about discipline in the topical family series I did

C. It focuses upon LONG TERM character

“Far better that the child should cry under healthful correction , than that parents should afterwards cry under the bitter fruit to themselves and children, of neglected discipline.” (Charles Bridges)

D. Issue: what is in your child’s long term best INTEREST

Walking with God means we must be willing to mix discipline with compassion in the right ratios and in the right situations.