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 (NASB)
The other day, my son was being loud and raucous when he shouldn’t have been, and not heeding requests or orders to stop. I had to be the one to firmly give him consequences for his choices. He sobbed, but I had to hold my ground.
Any parent who’s had to discipline a disobedient child wrangles with the choices of doing the right thing for the long run (discipline) or giving in to have peace in the short run. And with kids, they’re often so cute, we don’t want to even make them cry or make them uncomfortable.
But we’re here to raise godly adults, even when we just want to give in to get through the moment. Giving in to disobedience, however, doesn’t prepare our children for adulthood and the real world. God is doing the same with us, to raise us to spiritual adulthood.
I explained to my son that God tells us in His Word that the loving thing for parents to do is discipline their children. In fact, the unloving thing would be to let him continue in his disobedience! I reminded him of how the Israelites continually flaunted their disobedience and idolatry under God, and God allowed Jerusalem to be sacked, as well as allowed His people to be taken into exile in Babylon.
But I also reminded my son that God was very patient and loving through it all, letting His people return 70 years later. I told my son that I, too, was patient and there through it all.
Like our Father in heaven, we are loving in our discipline. We are patient. We are kind but firm. And if we are ever unloving, or impatient, or unkind in our discipline, we can also loving tell our children we’re sorry, because we are human and fallen, too.
We’re here to lovingly raise our kids for adulthood, and our Father in heaven, in His unfailing love, does the same for us in our lives, through all seasons.