Wednesday 16th March

Please read Hebrews 12:3-13…

In these verses, we are given a picture of how we are children of a loving Heavenly Father.  This Father loves us so much that he disciplines us when we stray from the right path.

“My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines, the child he embraces he also corrects.”   (v.5-6 from The Message version)

As children, I imagine none of us enjoyed being punished when we stepped out of line. We probably never realised just how much it hurt those who cared for us to have to exercise discipline, or that they did it out of love, at least in a good home, in order to show us the way to live. Those of us who are parents will have experienced the pain of seeing a child doing the wrong thing and knowing that it was up to us to exercise some form of discipline, becoming unpopular in the process. We will also know, however, that we may not like what the child has done, but their wrongdoing can never diminish the love we feel for them. As someone once wisely said, “Our children need our love most when they deserve it least.”

Our wrongdoing grieves the Lord far more than any earthly father, yet he continues to lavish his unfailing love on us, his beloved children. There is a purpose to the Lord’s loving discipline: it is to enable us to grow and mature in the faith, just as pruning a branch at this time of year enables a shrub to flourish and blossom. In a work situation, if we have responsibility for others, it is important that people are given feedback when things aren’t right, but the purpose of that feedback should not be to wound but to enable the person to get things right and develop their skills.

“God is educating you…..He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment, it’s training, the normal experience of children….God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best.” (v. 7 onwards in The Message)

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me so much that you let me know when I am going astray and guide me back to the right path. Help me to exercise the same loving correction where necessary in my home and in my dealings with others, but always in order to help them grow and mature. Amen.

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