“If we don’t receive a revelation of the Father’s affection, we won’t know how to properly interpret discipline.”
- Morgan Snyder
I used to be jealous of some of my friends when we were early in our careers. They all had jobs where they traveled a lot and earned points to take their families on extended vacations at virtually no cost. We weren’t able to do that.
A decade or so into my career, I had a job for 2 years in Chicago that required a lot of travel. Turned out that in order for me to earn the right to some nice free vacation travel for me and my family, I pretty much had to travel all of the time. It wasn’t that there was no cost for my friend's nice vacations, it was a cost I decided I could not afford.
For the rest of my career, I traveled far less, but I noticed something interesting when I did travel. Being away, for even a few days, affected the way I disciplined my children. I couldn’t just walk back into the house, having been away for a while, and play the authority figure I typically played with them.
It was as if there was a bank of attention and affection I had to build back up with them before disciplining them felt appropriate. Almost like they needed to know how deeply I loved them before we could address the things they were doing that made me disappointed.
Young Life calls it “earning the right to be heard." If you invest in others relationally and thoughtfully, show a high degree of care, you earn the right to tell them anything. Even the hardest and truest things.
Many of us grew up with hard, distant, or unaffectionate fathers who didn’t know how to show us their love, but still needed to apply discipline when warranted. It is confusing and hard to receive discipline when it is not accompanied by love and affection. The same thing can happen with our true Father.
When we focus only on His justice or assumed disappointment in the things we do without receiving a revelation of His affection as well, we misinterpret the discipline. He feels like an autocratic authoritarian who isn’t doing things out of love for us, but simply out of retribution…or maybe even cruelty.
As parents or leaders, we need to make sure that those under our care are receiving enough of a revelation of our affection, love, and support of them, that we feel really comfortable saying the things we have to say…
…and desire for them to hear and receive well.
- Do you affirm, encourage, and care well for those you’ve been entrusted to lead?
- Are they receiving enough of a revelation of your affection that they can receive your discipline well?
- What needs to change in the way you are offering support and encouragement of those you lead (employees, children, etc.) so that they can also receive well the discipline your leadership requires you to offer?