Prisons don’t keep criminals off the street or motivate them to change their beliefs and lifestyle. Prison fail. But our prison system that drains resources and keeps criminals in a criminal culture is the natural next step up from the justice system in our schools and homes. Lemme ‘splain.
In our schools, we don’t use physical pain as a deterrent; we use solitary confinement, or more often group separation, with some mental labor to pass the time. Hmmm…sounds a lot like prison to me, and it provides opportunities for the same problems to grow even sooner than prison. School fail. I don’t think this is the best we can do, or what God has in mind for the education and social training of our youth.
But wait, it starts before that. In our homes, we have shied away from physical pain as a deterrent, and we use…solitary confinement, aka “time out”. We send kids to their room, or lecture them, or plug them in, or pack them off to activities, because if we keep them occupied all the time, maybe they won’t think to misbehave. Is it working? Are they building character and leading others to life? Are they choosing a righteous lifestyle because they believe God’s way is best? Statistics say…Home fail.
And do we administer discipline at all in our churches? How do we discipline kids in Sunday School, or adults in the congregation? We seem to have this idea that we should accept everyone just as they are, but we have forgotten that none of us is supposed to stay that way. We avoid conflict with each other, pretending it’s all okay, and we never open up. We need to get real, get ready, and get going (preaching to self) so the world will know our reputation for dealing with our own in grace and truth. Pastors who have affairs are one of the only places we see any discipline in effect in church, but Paul says for the church to handle discipline in other areas, such as legal and social issues, and not to outsource our authority of truth to the government as we have education. Church fail.
God’s way works: swift physical pain upon conviction, harsh enough that they don’t want to endure it again, and they will remember it when they are tempted. No delays, no emotional manipulations, no threats, no resources required, no immersion with others headed in the same wrong direction…it makes so much sense. Are we brave enough to believe it and are we tough enough to do it? You tell me, or better yet, tell your local lawmaker, commissioner, legislator, pastor, principal, teacher, spouse, relatives, colleagues…you get the idea. Just remember: it starts in the home, it grows in the school and the church, and it produces fruit in adult society. Plant good seeds, pull the weeds. God makes them grow.