“This is going to hurt me more than it does you,” said the father to his young son as he took him from the family room for interrupting our conversation. I’d heard that statement many times and always wondered what the parent wanted the child to understand when it was used. If it was used to redirect a child’s behavior and teach him or her an important lesson about life, why not say so. That’s what the author of Psalm 94 meant when he wrote, “If God disciplines you, consider yourself blessed” or “full of blessings!”
To discipline means “to teach.” Discipline is not punishment as we understand it - though it may involve suffering and loss, disappointment and feelings of rejection. When God disciplines us, it is His method to bring us back to live within His commandments and laws and the teachings of Jesus. It is about “getting our attention” when we are overcome by temptation and fall into sin. It’s about being confronted by God when He corrects us for allowing the “things or the people or the attractions of this world” to take His place. It is about worshiping those things rather than the Creator of those “things.”
One of the blessings of discipline is that it has long-term benefits for the Christian. If in His mercy He brings loss or suffering to teach us a lesson today, and if we are willing to learn from the loss or suffering when it happens, we will be spared from greater losses or more suffering in the future - and bring more honor to Him.
Prayer: May we understand, Father, that when You discipline us it is a sign of Your love and care for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 94:12a Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord