The Discipline of Love
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Revelation 3:19
God's discipline reminds me that I (David) am part of His family. Because He cares for me, God sets limits to guide me. It is His loving correction for right living, not punishment for wrongdoing. Discipline looks to the future, while punishment focuses on the past.
Early in my Christian journey, I thought God's discipline seemed harsh at times. It was difficult not to hear my father's military voice when God's word said, for example, "Do not steal." As I have gained a little maturity in my faith, I've felt chastened just by knowing that my heavenly Father is grieved. It has broken my heart to think that I have hurt Him by my critical spirit or sharp tongue. God is hurt as a result of my sin, just like any other member of my family.
In my marriage, the wounded look on Teresa's face has been sufficient to let me know I've failed her in some way. I have seen that pained look on her face when I've given an impatient response to her loving inquiry or broken a promise for the hundredth time. Thankfully, I am now more sensitive to the times when I have sinned against my wife than in the past. It hurts me deeply to know that I've injured her. It takes fewer moments for me to clue in to the fact that I have wounded Teresa.
My gratitude for the security of God's love motivates me to change how I behave toward Him and toward my wife. I used to live in the fear of God's harsh judgment, thinking that He demanded my righteousness. I now know that it's because of His love for me that He's interested in my sanctification.
What steps can you take now to become more aware of the pain you cause God and your spouse when you sin?
Thank You, God, for loving me enough to discipline me.
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