Faithfully disciplining (training, educating, correcting) your child in a manner that pleases the Lord is an expression of biblical love. It also is a step of obedience for you as a parent and provides godly direction for your child.
Pity the home and church where fathers, finding in their hearts no love for their sons, cast them off without benefit of discipline. And pity the sons who grow up yearning for this proof of their sonship (Wayne Grudem and Dennis Rainey).
Love precedes discipline.
Pharisaical discipline often happens with the child inconveniences or embarrasses the parent. It’s then inconsistent and enacted as retribution in a form of revenge. That’s not discipline, but punishment. Christian parenting rather sees disobedience as an affront to the lordship of Christ and thus a danger for the child. Discipline then is an opportunity to correct a child, have them associate pain with sin and bring him or her closer to Christ for grace. Discipline when done this way is not a form of revenge, but rather a form of love.
As a father, I don’t discipline the kinds down the street. I only discipline my own children. I evaluate their actions and correct when they are making unbiblical choices. My discipline is not punitive or vengeful. It’s for correction and I correct them because I love them. And the proof of my fatherhood is seen in whom I discipline. The same is true for God (Hebrews 12:5–10).
If we have followed through…in showing unconditional love, then a child will be more ready and able to accept discipline when it has to be given, for he will understand the spirit in which it is given.
Ask yourself this question. Who benefits if you do not spank you child? Surely not the child. The (biblical) passages make it clear that such failure places the child at risk. Who benefits? You do. You are delivered from the discomfort of spanking the child. You are delivered from the agony of inflicting pain on one who is precious to you. You are delivered from the inconvenience and loss of time which biblical discipline requires. I believe this is why the Bible says in Proverbs 13:24 – “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” According to this passage, hatred is what will keep me from spanking my child. Love will force me to it.
How can you balance discipline and love? Discipline is an expression of love… Rather than being something to balance with love, it is the deepest expression of love.