Scripture tells us that when the Lord disciplines us, He is acting out of love. Yet some people struggle to understand this. They think, If God's love is truly unconditional, then why is He allowing me to suffer for my sin?
First, it's important to understand what discipline actually is. It is neither punishment nor a way to "pay" for your wrong actions. Rather, discipline is a method of correction. When our heavenly Father uses it in our lives, the purpose is to bring us back into the center of His will-and to prevent us from suffering future hurt or causing harm to others. In this way, God's correction is an act of deep love.
You aren't demonstrating love if you fail to apply discipline (Prov. 13:24); in fact, you are setting kids up to reap disastrous, painful results from their uncorrected behavior and destructive choices (19:18). A good parent disciplines disobedient sons and daughters to 1) protect them from further rebellion that could hurt themselves and others, and 2) restore them to health and wholeness.
Some parents, however, discipline out of anger, not love. They may think it wise to make children fearful of punishment, but that's not God's motive (1 John 4:18). Because He is a loving Father, His desire is to give us what we need to live fully.
God's unconditional love and His discipline are not contradictory; they go hand in hand. No matter how we fail to measure up, our Father is always working to lead us back onto a life-giving path. When we respond to His correction, He ultimately works out painful circumstances for our good.