I have a granddaughter who will soon be 1 year old. Of course, she is the most precious and sweetest child ever! She likes being held and will lay her head on your shoulder and say, “Um, um.” That’s her way of showing her love to the one holding her. But she does not want to be held for long at a time. She wants to be down and moving, exploring everything around her. It’s fun to watch her amazement and interest in things that are new to her.
Like most children her age, though, she also likes to put things in her mouth. The other day she was outside and my husband and my son-in-law were watching her walk around. There were some flowers next to a walkway and she squatted down next to them. Then she picked up a small rock and proceeded to put it in her mouth. My son-in-law immediately got the rock out of her mouth. He popped her little bottom and told her she should not put rocks in her mouth.
She wasn’t happy with being corrected. And it wasn’t even because of the little spanking, which was not hard enough to hurt. It was being told, “No.” She began to cry and then she called out for her beloved grandfather and said, “Paw Paw!”
None of us like to be told that we have done something wrong. When discipline comes, it’s not the “spanking,” but the voice of correction that hurts us. It’s never pleasant to be told by our Heavenly Father, through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, that we have sinned. It brings hurt and shame to our hearts. Yet it is necessary for our own good. Just like my granddaughter must learn what is not right to do, we also must be corrected when we are out of the will of God. We are told in Hebrews 12:11, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
We have to be trained just like a child. Just as a child should be taught the difference between right and wrong, we as children of God also have to be taught. Just as a child learns from their parents when they spend time with them, we learn about God’s requirements for living a righteous life by spending time with Him in prayer and from reading His Word. The older a child grows and the more they learn, they should be doing more right than wrong. The longer we are Christians, the more time we spend following Him, the less we should be sinning.
When my granddaughter was hurt, she cried out to her Paw Paw, knowing that she is loved by him. We can do the same. When we cry out to our Father, the one who loves us above all others, He will pick us up and love on us. We are assured that He will forgive us in 1 John 1:9 where it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
My granddaughter knew her Paw Paw would not fail her. She has been around him enough already, even at 1 year old, that she knows with him she is loved and protected. Again, this is like our relationship with God. We can have the assurance that He is always there for us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. David said in the Psalms that his help was from the Lord. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2. And because we are His, we can cry out to Him. 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Correction is never pleasant, but it is a necessary part of learning to walk a righteous life. We have the assurance, though, that along with forgiveness, we are loved by our Father. We also know that He will always hear our cry. Galatians 4:6 says, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” I’m sure my granddaughter will face additional discipline as she grows, just as we all will in our daily lives. So when we are being corrected or when we are hurt, we just need to cry out to Him.