I've been thinking about how God corrects and disciplines me. He doesn't let me go on and on until He's good and mad and about to blow. He corrects me for ME....because He loves me. Let that sink in a moment. He corrects me because He wants me to be mature, solid, strong, successful and most of all loving. He wants the character in HIM to be in ME. I'm pretty sure when I lose it with my kids the last thing on my mind is having the character of me in them.
Discipline and correction are acts of love, not exasperation. That will change the whole tone and action of my discipline if I understand this. When I correct, it won't be because I'm exhausted (although I often am), and it won't be because I'm embarassed by their behavior (although I often am). When I correct, it will be out of love for them. According to 1 Corinthians 13, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." This sounds like a pretty good way to approach correction my own children and those in my care.
Maybe we should look at some of the problems in our country right now as a result of a lack of love. If we truly love those around us, it doesn't make us soft and easily walked over. Love makes us strong because it is TOUGH to stand firm and say no sometimes. It shows love to deny the every passing demand of a child because we look not at their present desires but forward to what is best for them.
I know I will make mistakes in this....I am not God. Still, I want to look at the things I do for and with my children with their future in mind. I look for ways to say "yes" to them, but I also look for ways to help them learn from their mistakes....just like God does for me.
Loving correction isn't done for me....it's not because I've "had enough" of their bad behavior. It is done for them that they might have life and have it abundantly. That makes firm correction a lot easier to both give and receive. I'm actually not handing out "punishment", I'm handing out "love." What a difference that makes. (Not sure my children will see it that way, but children often don't see things clearly until they have grown and matured....which is my goal in the process.) I am not here for my children's comfort. I am here for their character, and that may mean they feel some "discomfort" along the way.
Wish I could say I will never again correct out of my need for peace and quiet, but I know that probably I will slip and say "I've had enough...." Still, I'm making progress. My Father has been correcting my way of thinking. He corrected me out of His unfailing love to see me mature and to care for His children.
Who says you can't teach an old gal new tricks? I'm holding on to this one because I see the difference it makes in me and those around me. Don't think I'll ever really get "enough" of that.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (Message)
"But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline;
don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that God corrects;
a father's delight is behind all this."
Hebrews 12:4-11 The Message (MSG)
4-11"In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don't feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline,
but don't be crushed by it either.
It's the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God."