Do you punish people in your life? Let’s look at a few ways we tend to punish others as adults and may not realize that we are doing it.
Punishing a Spouse – This is a big one. Have you ever punished your spouse by withholding anything? Laundry, dinner, or dare I say affection…? Maybe he didn’t notice the sparkling kitchen you spent hours cleaning, which caused you to think “let’s see if he notices when I don’t clean.” Maybe he didn’t fix the loose cabinet door, the leaky faucet, or something else you’ve been begging him to fix for several weeks. So, you decide to punish him by not showing affection. Have you done things like this? I have, and my actions didn’t create any better results. Your spouse is not your child. Communicate and ask for changes in an adult manner, with love and respect.
Punishing a Friend – How do you treat a friend that upsets you or doesn’t do what you want them to do? Do you punish them by telling them you’re too busy to hang out? Do you get back at them for not answering you soon enough by not responding to them at all? Maybe you go do something with another friend and post about it just for spite. It happens. Wanting to punish a friend is not loving. Allow your friends to make mistakes. Allow them to do things how they want as long as there is give and take overall. If you don’t let things go or address the issues and move on, it could eventually destroy a friendship.
Punishing Fellow Christians – It happens too, even at church. We expect more out of fellow believers, especially at church, because church is supposed to be a place where you can trust others to show love and forgiveness. However, I have seen and experienced punishment in the church through someone giving a cold shoulder, not being asked to participate in certain groups, or not being allowed to serve where best-suited because I or someone else couldn’t help when or where it was requested. Punishing someone inside the church doesn’t draw them closer. It pushes them away. Church is supposed to be a safe place for love and correction, not grudges and punishment.
Often times, when you punish someone for not doing what you want them to do or for hurting you, you end up making matters worse for yourself too. When you punish someone, you are inflicting suffering. That’s what punishing means. Think about this for a second. Do you really what to inflict suffering on your spouse, a friend, or inside the church? If you want someone to do something for you, or do something a certain way, then go about in a loving manner. Don’t punish someone for hurting you or not doing what you want.
People are going to hurt you sometimes. Nobody is perfect. Paying them back by punishing them is not the answer. Love and forgive.
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thes. 5:15