My mom always says that she can count on one hand the number of times she had to spank me when I was a child. I think I remember a couple of those instances myself. Not fun.
No discipline is pleasant, is it. Hebrews 12:11a says,
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful.”
Chastisement is never fun.
I couldn’t prepare a blog post for yesterday because when it came time for me to write, I was busy having some “not fun.” I was in the midst of some discipline from the Lord, and my heart was sick with that feeling you get when you know you’ve done something wrong. You know the one.
The thing is, the wrong which I had inadvertently committed and of which I had been immediately convicted was one that I had already confessed to God. I knew He had forgiven me, so when that awful feeling of guilt still hadn’t left me even after several days–at which point it actually greatly intensified–I realized that God was disciplining me. He was requiring me to confess my sin to the person who was affected by it even though unaware of it. (As our pastor said on Sunday, sin is never singular. It always affects both the sinner and at least one other person.)
I felt mortified. I found myself thinking, “Please God, tell me I’m misinterpreting this. Can’t it just be enough to keep this between You and me?” But, of course, I knew what must be done. God had disciplined me in this same way twice before; and as “not fun” as His requirement of me had seemed, my obedience in the matter had resulted in great peace. I knew it would be the same way this time. I knew that I must obediently face the consequences of my sin and that when I did my burden would be lifted. And, it was.
You see, there is a second half to the verse I shared above.
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11)
The moment I finished confessing my sin to the person whom it had affected, a great weight lifted from me. That heart sick I-know-I’ve-done-something-wrong feeling departed from me, and I was relieved and blessed to be past the “not fun” part of the Lord’s discipline and on to the “peaceful yields” of it.
I “do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, for [I know that] those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” (see Hebrews 12:5-6); and I also know that “He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10b).
It would take several hands to count the number of times that God has disciplined me. Among them there are a few especially painful instances (this one included) that I will never forget. They weren’t fun at the time, but ultimately they made me more greatly aware of not only my need for continued sanctification but also of my Savior’s love for me.
“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
I am thankful that my Father loves me enough to correct me.