Proverbs 3:11-12 – My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (NIV)
Hebrews 12:11 – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (NIV)
A few nights ago, a young neighbour boy came over to play. He was hanging out in the sitting room, colouring quietly. After some time, he began playing with a decorative pillow, tossing it up in the air and back down again. But soon, he started to be aggressive with his throws, and the pillow knocked the clock off the wall. It crashed down onto the ground and broke apart. I could see the look of horror on his face. (This is a Ugandan boy, and if it had happened at home, he would most likely have been caned.)
I immediately had to pray for God's wisdom in disciplining this child. He was not disobedient — it was an accident. I didn't want to see fear in his eyes.
I took a deep breath, counted the broken pieces on the floor, looked at the child, and with a smile, said, "Do you think that was the smartest game to play?" He hung his head at first, but then looked back at me and replied, "No. I'm sorry Auntie K." I informed him that all was fine. We could fix the clock nicely the next day if we got some super glue, and he was so happy. He was forgiven. Of course, I had to continue delighting in him; he's a neighbour whom I love dearly.
How often we react out of anger, frustration, or pride! I believe that the Lord wants us to learn to discipline those under our authority with love and forgiveness, in order to produce right living and peaceful relationships. We should try to respond to painful wrongdoings with the wisdom which comes only from God.
Looking at the clock, I found that God was showing me a few reminders for discipline:
- Within a quick second, I can either create change or worsen a relationship.
- Within a minute, I can say a quick prayer to ask God to grant wisdom.
- The broken, but glued frame shows me that it's possible to move on and gain control again.
- An hour is plenty of time to restore dignity to a child who has done something wrong.
- And thankfully God gives me many days to train up a child!
God delights in His children. How beautiful! Delight doesn't feel like a caning; it feels like a hug, a smile, and a conversation of repentance, forgiveness, and love. Delight grows dignity and harvests righteousness and peace.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for loving us and disciplining us. We are sorry for the things that we have done wrong, and we ask You to help us to correct our actions and attitudes and make things right again. Help us to delight in our children and to discipline them with love, dignity, and respect. We are eternally grateful that forgiveness comes from You. Lord, we request that You would also help us to forgive those who have sinned against us. In Your Son's holy name, we pray. Amen.