If you stopped by because you read my devotion June 6th over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME! So glad you are here!
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. Hebrews 12: 9-10 (NIV)
“This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”
Have you ever heard that? I can’t really say that my parents said that to me, (I was the good kid), but I have heard others speak of their parents saying that to them.
I didn’t understand that saying until I had children of my own. When our babies are born, they are perfect. Every little smile, every “coo” is deeply embedded in our hearts. But then they start growing. Even very young toddlers have to be disciplined. Some children learn quickly to listen to what they are told, but others seem to push the limits. Even after being told not to do something, they will look at the one disciplining them in the eye while reaching their hand out toward the forbidden object.
When I had to discipline my children by spanking them or setting them in time out, it did hurt my heart. I knew they needed to be corrected but the deep sadness they experienced made me want to cry along with them.
When I was very young, I would sometimes fail to be still and quiet in church. Once home, my dad would talk to me first. He would point his finger at me as he talked. I remember thinking that his finger had to be 3 feet long as it was pointed right at my face. Then I got spanked. I always thought the “talking to” was a lot worse than the spanking. I don’t remember that happening too often. (Like I said, I was the good kid.)
As Christians we learn that it takes discipline to keep a regular time of Bible study and prayer. It takes discipline to walk a consistent life of obedience. But discipline can also be God correcting us. He talks to us first.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)
Sometimes that discipline is painful. We can experience pain and guilt when we are disobedient and commit sin. We can suffer consequences that may be temporary or that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We can feel abandoned by God. But God doesn’t want us to stay that way.
“Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:12 (NIV)
That discipline may include striping us of things that caused us to fall away from God. It often involves us losing the peace and joy we can feel when we are in a right relationship with our Savior.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)
The discipline we receive should cause us to turn back to the loving, forgiving arms of Christ. I’ve noticed that about disciplining children. When the time of discipline is over, they want to be held. They want to be loved. When I had to correct my girls or grandchildren, I couldn’t wait to hold them in my arms. Our Heavenly Father is the same. He corrects us because He loves us. But He also can’t wait to have a close fellowship with us once more. If we could ask Him how it makes Him feel to discipline us, I think He would say:
“It hurt Me a lot more than it hurts you.”
And Jesus has the scars to prove it.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving us so much that You will discipline us when we are disobedient to Your will. When the time of reproof and correction is hurtful, let me remember that Your heart hurts too. Help me to be quick to repent so that I can be in sweet fellowship with You once more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.