Our scripture this morning is Hebrews 12:1-11.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
Do you remember being disciplined as a child? I certainly do. While the memory of the event is still not happy, as an adult and a parent who has been on the other side, I have a different opinion of discipline now. As many of you probably know, giving discipline is no more pleasant than receiving it.
I don’t ever remember being disciplined unfairly. Oh, I sure thought so at the time, but if I’m honest with myself, I can see that every discipline I received was reasonably deserved. My responses usually went from “I didn’t do it!” to “I did it but there was a reason” to “Yeah, that was wrong”. I believe our response to sin and God’s loving discipline is much the same.
I’m sure that God takes no joy from the act of disciplining His wayward children, but it is necessary in order to point us away from sin and back onto the path He intends for us. God looks past our sin and the act of discipline to forgiving us and the reconnection with Him we experience afterwards.
Loving Lord, we are sorry for the times You must discipline us in order to save us from sin. Thank You for Your forgiveness and everlasting love, wanting us to be part of Your family and Your plan for all Your children. Amen.