The tattle tale. The teacher’s pet. The one who always seems to catch everyone else doing wrong. He expectantly waits intently for that next bad move. He thrives on the trouble that others get into.
No, this is not that kid in your second grade class long ago. This is my dog.
Moses loves his play dates with Piper, our lionhead rabbit. But he loves even more involving himself in disciplining her. Well, he thinks that is what he is doing. He loves to hear us tell her “no.” He waits for us to catch her making a wrong move. When he hears us snap our fingers at her, he bolts to the rescue. He barks at her, nudges her away with his snout, and/or chases her away from, for instance, a forbidden area.
Yep, he takes matters into his own paws. Like a parent reminding her child that she does not need help disciplining her other child, I have found myself telling Moses, “I will handle this.” He hasn’t quite caught on to my rule yet.
While Moses tends to feel affirmed when he sees a fellow pet reprimanded, he becomes not so fond of the discipline he himself experiences at times. Why I have yet to have my video camera ready when he gets in trouble for stealing the hedgehog’s food, I will never know. The irresistible display of pure guilt and shame expressed through a sulking posture and conscience-stricken face is very camera worthy. It often makes it difficult to scold him. Nevertheless, without that chastisement, Moses would not be the near perfect dog that he is.
Prov 3:11-12 says “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Have you ever been disciplined by the Lord? Let’s not confuse discipline with punishment. Punishment is meant to have justice served. It invokes a feeling of guilt and fear. It focuses on misdeeds. Punishment is what we all deserved prior to obtaining our salvation through Jesus Christ.
Discipline is what we now can enjoy as a child of God. Discipline trains us for maturity and focuses on the correcting of our wrongs. It focuses on our security in Christ rather than condemnation for our misdeeds. Discipline does not mean we lose accountability for our mistakes. Rather it leaves room for grace in spite of our mistakes.
Many times in scripture we are reminded to not despise discipline from the Lord. Why? Because it is one more piece of evidence pointing to how much he delights in us. How much he loves us. And how much he wants to mold us into the precious creation he formed us to be.
Sometimes a gentle reminder is what we need. More times than not, a healthy jolt of reality is what it takes to get our attention. Whatever form your discipline tends to take, do not despise it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Thank God for it!