Intimidatingly a word

Punishment, when not clarified in English with a fuller definition, implies retribution. The focus of punish­ment is always past tense: "First you did this, then you did this, and now you have to pay the price." In His mercy, God wiped away all eternal, spiritual implications of our pasts; He doesn't treat His children according to the rules of punishment.Very simply, the gospel is that God became a man, came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on a cross to pay for the sins of all mankind, rose again from the dead on the third day, and was seen by over five hundred witnesses.Those who want that redemption applied to themselves must understand that we have a sin problem — we've all violated the commands of a holy God — and that there's no way to the Father except through the Son.

That dynamic will eventually render your efforts to raise godly children ineffective, and here's why: The idea of punishment implies repaying someone with what he or she deserves. Punishment produces a child laden with guilt and determined to get out from under it, and Christlikeness is never the result.Because it's focused on the past, children feel helpless.They can't undo what they've already done, and they can't change the circumstances that their behavior has produced.Punishment doesn't give them a means to right their wrongs; the tools they need to understand redemption aren't included in the punishment pack­age.It is simply retribution that leads to a lot of negative emotions.

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The closer the relationship, the more betrayed and frustrated we feel.

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  1. Meet the experts: Sarah Jones is a relationship expert, and founder and CEO of coaching website Introverted Alpha, and Sameera Sullivan is the CEO of Lasting Connections, an elite matchmaking service. "This is a great ice-breaker because it's a little mischievous and flirtatious," Jones says.