Raising two small boys under age 5 has me going back to Hebrews 12:11 again and again.
It says, “Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
I need reminding of this when I’m doing the dirty work of discipline — enforcing rules, allowing my boys to experience the natural consequences of their actions, and correcting their deliberate disobedience and rebelliousness.
It’s not pretty.
But then, I have to remind myself that the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” doesn’t ripen overnight. These tender plants are still in training.
But, I’m realizing more and more that disciplining my kids requires an equal measure of self-discipline on my part. If I’m asking them to submit to me as the authority, then I’d better be submitting myself to God’s authority. When I’m in the act of teaching and correcting my boys, I find myself in the uncanny position of being taught and corrected by the Lord in the very same lessons that I’m trying to impart.
I can’t teach them not to throw tantrums if I’m losing my own temper on them.
I can’t teach them to speak respectfully if my own rash words cut and wound.
I can’t teach them to pay attention if all they ever get from me is partial attention.
The list goes on and on. Every day, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that God is using my children to show me who He wants me to be. He’s using me to discipline them, yes, but He’s using them to discipline (to disciple) me and draw me to a closer walk with Him.
Sometimes I do get weary of the Lord’s chastening (Another tantrum? It’s not the end of the world. The snack bag erupted all over the floor during sacrament at church. Everybody stay calm.) but this passage in Hebrews reminds me not to despise it and to not wilt under it. It may not look pretty right now, but the end result will be a harvest of righteousness and peace.
So, what does this blog article have to do with you, patient reader? You are God’s child, so He is disciplining you in some way. He may not be using toddlers to discipline you. Chances are good that He’s using other means. What is it teaching you, and are you submitting to it as a child submits to a parent? I hope this gives you as much food for thought as it has for me.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.