Deuteronomy 8:5 “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.”
(I know … one of your favorite verses, right?)
We don’t often think of discipline as a positive thing, but actually the most effective discipline is positive. Discipline should not be confused with punishment, although sometimes the two seem very much alike. Especially when God is involved we hear discipline and jump right into “shame on me!” mode. Don’t jump too fast …
There is a story of a mom who decided to let her daughter begin experiencing a bit of responsibility and freedom by walking all by herself to her best friend’s house. The agreement was that the daughter would call when she got there. One day, after a few weeks and several successful journeys, the girl forgot to call. Her mom wasn’t really worried, but she was a bit annoyed and wanted to teach her daughter a lesson. She snatched up her phone and dialed the neighbor’s house, but after it rang once, mom had a change of heart and hung up. She really didn’t want to punish her daughter… Almost immediately the phone rang. It was her daughter. “Mom! I got here just fine. I almost forgot to call you, but the phone here rang just one time and it reminded me.
Effective discipline is often like that. Before a situation reaches the point where harm is done or punishment is needed a good parent can remind and reinforce in subtle ways that guide a child toward what is right. Now, read the verse from Deuteronomy again.
Sometimes your conscience interrupts you just as you are making a decision about something. Consider it one ring on your phone … a gentle reminder from a very good Father that there might be a better way.
I’m praying today for your hearts to stay soft, attentive, and appreciative of God’s discipline in your life. It really is a wonderful gift.