For Your Own Good

Proverbs 3:11Young man, do not resent it when God chastens and corrects you, for his punishment is proof of his love. Just as a father punishes a son he delights in to make him better, so the Lord corrects you.
Hebrews 12:5–9 “And have you quite forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his child? He said, “My son, don’t be angry when the Lord punishes you. Don’t be discouraged when he has to show you where you are wrong. For when he punishes you, it proves that he loves you. When he whips you, it proves you are really his child.” Let God train you, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. Whoever heard of a son who was never corrected? If God doesn’t punish you when you need it, as other fathers punish their sons, then it means that you aren’t really God’s son at all-that you don’t really belong in his family. Since we respect our fathers here on earth, though they punish us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to God’s training so that we can begin really to live?”

I’m not sure what the term “Whoop’n” looks like in your imagination, but for me it reminds me of bending over my father’s knee while he applied several whacks with a belt on my bottom. It hurt! But, then he hugged me and explained that sin has consequences.

I know this whole idea of corporal punishment is very controversial today, but I have never been accused of avoiding controversy. LOL. If we avoid Scriptures that are not popular, then we do Truth an injustice. On the one hand, I fully understand the deplorable problem of child abuse, and the Scriptures certainly do not condone that. On the other hand, the Scriptures consistently condone and encourage a method of controlled discipline that is clearly physical, and clearly hurts the child. This is not talking about parents who lose their temper and hit their children. If God lost His temper even once, we would all be dead! Parents must never hit their children (as in slapping or open fist). That is dangerous, mean, abusive, and only produces anger and resentment. And, it probably creates a bully or a person who has no self-esteem. Spanking on the other hand, is physically harmless but produces the fruit of righteousness. It is certainly not the only way to correct a child, and it becomes less effective as they grow up and are able to respond better to reason, but let’s not throw out an important tool in raising healthy children. And by the way, cruelty to children can be verbal as well as physical, so let’s be mostly concerned about acting from a heart of love and self-control. Then, human methods will be effective even if not perfect. God, in His perfection inflicts punishment on those He loves. It’s not always physical either. Let’s be Biblical. Let’s grow up. Let’s follow His example of loving discipline.

God’s punishments do hurt, but they are always from a heart that is wisely and lovingly teaching His children to live a righteous and healthy life. His “spankings” hurt less that the alternative of us becoming spoiled brats! Our heavenly Father does not enjoy bringing suffering into our lives (i.e. Job) but He teaches us that temporary afflictions can produce positive eternal results. Many parents today have been raised without good discipline and are following the same path. This path has not decreased violence or abuse. In fact, the negative results are being felt in our schools, on our streets, and in our homes. Modern psychology and un-Biblical philosophies have led us to near bedlam and social anarchy. We must not avoid the responsibility to “chasten” our children for sinful behavior. It’s our job. God is a good Father and He refuses to avoid the responsibility of correction and punishment for wrong doing. Rebellion must be punished. Lying must be punished. Immorality must be punished. Pride must be punished.

I know, I know, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “But God has forgiven me!” This is absolutely true. However, mercy does not always remove the consequences of our actions or the need for us to learn a lesson. I think 1 Corinthians 11:28–32 makes this point very clear when it refers to proper procedure and attitudes for communion:

“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”

Being forgiven does not always mean we sidestep the consequences of our actions. Forgiven means we are moved from the “Condemned” list to the “Beloved in training” list.

I encourage you today to embrace the Lord’s correction. I will go further than that: Ask Him to forgive you for your rebellion and teach you to live a holy life…no matter how much it hurts!

Wow! Really?!
Yes really.
Do you trust God?
Do you trust His love…His rebuke…
His motives…His wisdom…
His self-control?
You should.

As my Mom used to say…”It’s for your own good!” Look at what you are going through right now and ask God why you are suffering. Is it the consequences of your own foolishness? or is it His plan to teach you righteousness? or is it the attack of the enemy? or is it just life as it happens? He knows the cause and the cure. He will guide you how to pray and how to react. Remember you are in training for eternal things and training can be tough.

One final word of hope…

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” — 1 Corinthians 10:12–13

Praying for you to stand tall and walk humbly!
(That is not an oxymoron…think about it)
- Pastor Pete

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