We’ve all said it before — something like it — as we were being disciplined by a parent: “You don’t love me anymore!” How this pierces a loving parent’s heart, because he/she knows better; godly, appropriate discipline is practiced as an act of love — as unappreciated as it might be — to keep the child from harm (that comes in so many different forms: health, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual) either now or in the future.
Happily, once we have grown up and matured a bit, we usually come to greatly appreciate the efforts made by our long-suffering parents, despite how unpleasant it might have been at the time — for both of us. I can remember thanking my father for all the discipline (usually spankings) after I had been married a few years — I thought he was going to faint. I had learned to embrace his godly and trustworthy discipline; and honestly, there still are plenty of times when I wish I could go to my dad for his encouragement, rebuke, or correction.
And how much more should we be willing to accept the Lord’s discipline; yet how often do we have hardship, trouble, financial insecurity, loneliness, and much more thrust upon us; and look upward and at least think, “Do you not love me anymore?” We haven’t learned to embrace God’s discipline.
“Well, how do I do that?” you may well ask. There are two things that occur to me — there may be more — to help us embrace the discipline.
One of the things that made me appreciate what my parents had done was understanding (later) why they had done it — to keep me from playing in the street and getting run over, to teach me not to be selfish but care for others, to teach me the value of learning, of hard work, of right priorities, of thrift, of kindness, of generosity, of loyalty, of family, and so much more. And maybe the reasons that we often fail to embrace the discipline is because we’ve not asked the question, “What am I supposed to learn?” The point of discipline is to teach, but as any teacher can tell you learning is a two-way street — the student must be willing to learn. Too often we’re the student who is simply trying to find a way to not suffer the consequences of our sinful actions. You’ll more easily embrace the discipline, when you stop and learn the lesson.
Another of the things that made me appreciate the discipline of my parents is was realizing that they really did love me, were sacrificing things for me, and providing for me — the discipline was simply one more proof, yes proof, of their love. We so often praise and glorify God in our prayers and songs for His marvelous, gracious, constant love evident in His creation, in sending Jesus, in providing for our needs, for the joy and hope we have, for the unbelievable status as heirs of Heaven, and abundantly more. But how often do we recognize and thank Him for the proof of His love found in discipline? Would God just about “faint”?
The writer of Hebrews tells us (Heb. 12:11), “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Let’s learn to embrace the good, trustworthy, and loving discipline of the Lord.
div>This is marvelous. It is sorely needed