Hebrews 12:10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
Parenting is the hardest job on the planet. It always has been and always will be. As a parent, you always want the best things for your children. You want them to have the best education and opportunities. You want them to experience the best of friends and the best that you can give. You just want everything to be better for them than you ever had for yourselves.
At some point, the awful D-word enters into parenting: discipline. Little Johnny or Janey behave badly, despite all of the good things that are all around them. This is where the rubber hits the road and parenting becomes even harder to accomplish. Harsh discipline will deepen resentment and accomplish practically nothing; little discipline will trivialize the faulty behavior. Time outs work for a while with younger children, as do prohibitions from cell phones, computers, and other devices for teenagers. The whole point about discipline is to make it a teaching moment – a discipling toward better behavior.
The one thing that parents need to beware is an over-indulgence after the discipline has ended. Some parents make the serious mistake of rewarding their kids after discipline, only because the parents feel bad about disciplining their kids. This completely undermines any progress in character. Parents, who do this continuously, usually end up ruining their own relationships with their children and spouses.
When God disciplines us spiritually, He usually does it to get our attention and make us aware of the consequences of our sinful choices and deeds. His discipline is meant to cause us to reflect upon our poor decisions and repent of our disgraceful acts. As Christians, we are still prone to making mistakes; however, as Christians, we are meant to humbly confess our sins to God and seek His mercy. God’s discipline brings us back under His care – without it, we would separate ourselves completely from God and, in the end, be forever isolated from Him in a hell of our own making.
As we head into Holy Week, let’s use the days to come as a means of spiritual discipline, to draw closer to God, seek salvation from His Son, and be restored to God’s Kingdom.
Questions for personal reflection
What methods of discipline were used on me to get my attention and strengthen my character? How have I experienced God’s discipline in my life?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, discipline us each day with Your love. Help us to learn from our mistakes and not take Your mercy for granted. When we are at fault, enable us to take time out to confess our misdeeds to You, as well as to restore what we may have broken in our relationships with others. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Holy Week drawings called “Her Holy Tears.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5518/13645985583_8026057840_b.jpg