The Discipline of Natural Consequences
Even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won. 1 Peter 3:1
"David, I wonder if it might be a good idea to slow down on these corners." Teresa's tone was gentle. She wasn't very insistent, so I ignored her. I was in a hurry to get to an important conference, and speeding seemed justified. Since I wouldn't listen to my wife, it was time for the discipline of natural consequences.
Around the next turn a speed trap was waiting for the husband who had just ignored his wife's counsel. The officer wrote me the ticket, and we were on our way. Silence filled several miles—not even an "I told you so." I was miserable. I felt deep sorrow and embarrassment, so I made appropriate confessions to my wife and to the Lord. I paid the fines and took care of the paperwork requirements of the court. God had applied the discipline, then God reminded me of the limits He set for my behavior, which are for my safety and protection. The discipline of natural consequences had completed its work.
The Lord can greatly use the ministry of caring counsel and a quiet spirit. In the silence of these things, the Spirit's conviction is often almost deafening.
I'm confident that I wouldn't have heard the Holy Spirit's voice if Teresa had continued to voice her displeasure in my driving. I'm also sure that I would have ignored the Lord's prompting if Teresa had continued to remind me of the consequences of my sin. Teresa wisely chose to share her concern in a loving way, then backed off to let the Spirit do the work.
In short, Teresa didn't try to do the job that God sent His Spirit to do.
In what areas of your spouse's and your lives might God use the discipline of natural consequences?
Lord, might the quietness of my spouse's acceptance empower me to listen to Your voice.