(Learning to embrace Divine discipline)
“Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.” (Lamentations 3:32 NLT)
By Fr. Chris Lee OFR
When we think about correction we don’t usually think of it as a blessing. Discipline isn’t something we enjoy or look forward to…..ask our children lol. However, correction is necessary to improve our character, behavior, and maturity. In fact, the Bible says, “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child." (Hebrews 12:6 NLT) Remember that God affirms who his children are when He corrects them. So, discipline is not only beneficial, it is proof we belong to God, and that He loves us.
The need to discipline is often easier to see in other people than ourselves. Somehow, we are quicker to see the faults of others than our own. On the flip side, it is also easier for others to see our deficiencies before we recognize them. This is the very reason Jesus calls us to examine ourselves before we begin pointing out the faults of others. In Matthew 7:4-5, Jesus says, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye, when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (NLT)
Sometimes we struggle with Divine discipline thinking it to be unfair or harsh. But God gives the right amount of discipline to change our lives. He is never abusive and takes no delight in our pain. Like any loving parent, discipline is given to help us improve. Refusing to accept correction usually brings more discipline and prolongs the duration of that correction. It may even contribute to our having to repeat the lesson entirely. It is much easier to submit our will, apply ourselves to the lesson, and accept the correction as it is intended. “Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn't we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?” (Hebrews 12:9 NLT)
God’s correction will continue at every stage of our growth. No child of God is exempt from his discipline. This is the normal conversion experience for all of us. Submitting to God may not be comfortable at first, but when understood to be given in love and for our own benefit, we are compelled to participate. “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Hebrews 12:11 NLT) Correction is necessary for transformation.
Remember, that God’s discipline, is for our benefit.