During my recent message for our church’s annual Women in Red program, I mentioned how there was a stark difference between myself at the age of 21 and my current age, and how 21 was the age when I was at my most wretched–completely caught up in the ways of the world. At the time I told myself I wasn’t doing anything normal 21-year-olds didn’t do, and even tried to pass off my behavior by telling myself that I was doing BETTER than most people my age. I had never done drugs, nor did I have the desire to, and I didn’t think my drinking and clubbing was that out of hand. But, of course, I was measuring myself against the world’s standards, not the high standards God has set for his children.
I also mentioned during my speech that 21 was when I got knocked off my high horse. As God enabled the devil to afflict Job, I was also afflicted. Not with illness, the loss of my family members, or the loss of wealth, of course. Twenty-one was when I got raped. That was a huge wake up call. Now, at no point in time do I want ANYONE to think that I feel that my being sexually assaulted was God’s doing, nor do I feel it was my fault. I do believe that sometimes, when God’s children go astray, he either A) does something to get our attention or B) as in the situation with Job, allows us to go through the fire.
I thought about how I was disciplined as a child. People can say what they will today and listen to Dr. Spock all they want, but I still believe that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. I was never abused as a child, but I was spanked–infrequently. I didn’t act up much as a child, but when I did and the infraction was serious enough, I got spanked for it. And you know what? I deserved each one I got.
What did being spanked teach me? I kept thinking about the situations that led up to me getting spanked. My spankings were always a result of direct disobedience and disrespect. My parents told me to do something, I decided I knew better than them and did not do it–spanking. Once, my grandmother was the spanker–so you know I must have REALLY been acting up, because how often do grandmothers spank their grandchildren?? Anyway, my parents taught me when I did something wrong, there would be swift, and oftentimes, painful consequences.
A disciplined child grows up to be a disciplined adult. Look at the children now whose parents treat them more like friends than individuals who need guidance and authority. They grow up with no respect for themselves or authority and no self-control. The point of disciplining your child is to teach them that A) that their actions come with consequences and some of them may be negative, B) they have to learn to control themselves despite their surroundings, which may include their peers or their environment, C) and that throughout the entire duration of their life they will be responsible to SOMEONE.
There are numerous Scriptures about discipline:
Here is one of my favorites:
Proverbs 25:28: “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls”.
Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”.
The following verse applies not only to earthly parents but also applies to how I think of God our Father and his discipline of his unruly children:
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24).
That very verse alone is why I can thank God for his loving discipline. Because if God loves you enough to discipline you, OH BELIEVE ME, YOU ARE SOMEBODY. YOU MEAN SOMETHING TO HIM. Just like a parent who loves his or her children, when God sees us doing wrong, he is going to correct us so that we may do better.
Of course it is not fun when we are going through it–but at the end of it all, we’ll be better for it.