Today's Bible study led me to Heb 12 and a look at the Lord's discipline. We are not to despise His discipline - but love it, endure it, be trained by it, strengthen ourselves through it, pursue peace and sanctification....all good stuff. BUT since this is a passage often brought up when I teach on parenting, I decided to look it up again.
I struggle not to see God as a crotchety, old man with a big belt in the sky, waiting for me to step off the blanket so he can WHACK me back into line....KWIM? Do not think this reflects on my father....it's how these passages and much of the Bible were caught by me.... It's what I created in my mind. It's why I NEED to discipline myself to DIG into the Word of God. My perspective colors my preceptions of who God is.
Somehow, in some circles of society and church, we've come to equate discipline with physical spanking and such. And we're to LOVE it.
But the word for discipline is Strong's 3809 - paideia....it means "instruction of children", training the Lord approves, nouthesia is mainly instruction by word but paideia is instruction by DEED. Synonyms of the word are INSTRUCTION and RECTIFICATION.
It is NOT 2851(Kolasis) or 5098 (timoria) which mean penalty, punishment, penal infliction, retribution
If God wanted to say that he punishes His children as a father and we're to love it - He would have. He would have used either Kolasis or Timoria.
He didn't. He painted Himself as a father who graciously and lovingly takes the time to instruct His children by word and DEED. He educates us and trains us...can we do less for our children? Can we see Him as a father who shepherds and mentors as well as the "stern disciplinarian"? How can the children of this father not love Him? He cares for their good and takes the time to train them.
Catch that the rest of this chapter ties instruction/discipline to grace, holiness, sanctification.....How can I NOT love the discipline (paideia) of the Lord? How can I NOT commit to train my children by word and deed for the same purposes? It takes time; but look at the fruit that this training brings in the lives of God's children.
Bring it on.
Living all of life before the face of God...