My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
A young boy I work with captured my heart within hours of meeting him. I have worked with kids for more years than I can count and can’t remember a more stand-out kid. He is charismatic, compassionate, intuitive, funny, and dearly loved by all the kids around him. I can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with him. In this “love” I thought I felt for him, I allowed him to slide on some expectations that I held to other kids. His father, a man I greatly respect, called me aside one day and pointed out the error of my leniency with his son. I didn’t get it at first, but when I did, I realized that not disciplining this boy wasn’t love, whatever it may have been, it wasn’t love. Love requires that I discipline him and not allow him to continue on a path that could ultimately cause him harm.
I began disciplining him the way I would any other child and he noticed immediately the difference and he didn’t like it. At one point, after several days of the new rules of engagement, he looked at me sincerely and said, “You don’t love me anymore”. That broke my heart but it gave me the chance to explain to him that it was because I love him that I will discipline him. He didn’t get it at first either. Love sometimes demands that I take a harder position than I would like to if it means steering a kid off of a path that can only lead to his harm.
God’s love for us requires no less. What kind of love would allow someone to derail and not make efforts to bring them back into line? What kind of love would it be if a parent looked the other way while their child continually made decisions that lead to destruction? Discipline is not the same as punishment. I have heard people comment that God must be punishing them through a sickness or disease or hardship, but I don’t see that in a loving Father. The Lord’s discipline is an act of love.
“The Lord’s discipline is an often-ignored fact of life for believers. We often complain about our circumstances without realizing that they are the consequences of our own sin and are a part of the Lord’s loving and gracious discipline for that sin. This self-centered ignorance can contribute to the formation of habitual sin in a believer’s life, incurring even greater discipline.
Discipline is not to be confused with cold-hearted punishment.
The Lord’s discipline is a response of His love for us and His desire for each of us to be holy.
God will use testing, trials, and various predicaments to bring us back to Himself in repentance.
The result of His discipline is a stronger faith and a renewed relationship with God
not to mention destroying the hold that particular sin had over us. *
While discipline may make us feel that God doesn’t love us anymore, the truth is it is out of His great love for us that He disciplines us. That may be something we only see clearly in hindsight.
I am grateful Father, for the times You have disciplined me, for the times I would have derailed had You not brought me back. Thank You for loving me enough to take the time to discipline me and to take a harder stand with me than either one of us may like at the moment. Show me areas in my life where I am out of line with Your word and Your will and bring me back, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
picture credit: familyfrugalfun.com