“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:5-7)
“Joey and Cam, let’s go! We need to head home.” Cam’s mom called, as she wiped ketchup and bits of french fries off of the baby’s fingers and face.
Cam heard her, but he and Joey really wanted to keep playing on the restaurant’s playground for a few more minutes, so they pretended not to hear her. They got “lost” deep inside the maze and climbed backwards up the slides instead of coming out on the ground near her table. Cam did not make eye contact with his mom, but he could hear his little sister starting to get fussy. He did not care. He wanted to keep on playing. So that’s what he and Joey did.
“Cam! Joey! Last call! We are leaving now!” Cam’s mom did not sound too happy.
When they finally got into the van, she turned to the boys and said, “What was that all about at the playground? I know you heard me call the first time. Were you deliberately disobeying?”
The boys looked at one another. Joey nodded slowly, and Cam said a very quiet “Yes, ma’am, we were.”
It was mostly silent in the van until after they had dropped Joey off at his house. Cam’s mom turned to him then and said, “You do realize I’ll have to punish you for deliberate disobedience, don’t you, Cameron?”
“But, Mom, I thought you were done being mad. You didn’t say anything else to Joey!”
“Cam, I don’t have to say anything else to Joey. (Although I am thinking about talking it over with his mom later on.)”
“No fair! Joey did the same thing I did! It might’ve even been his idea! – I don’t even remember exactly, but it probably was Joey’s idea!”
“I’m not responsible to punish Joey. Joey is not my son. You are. Your father and I love you, and we believe our children should not deliberately disobey us. If they do choose to disobey us, they will not go unpunished. You know that.”
It began to sink into Cam’s head, then. His mom was focused on punishing him, not Joey, because she loved him far more than she could ever love Joey. She was not going to bother to punish Joey (his own parents could deal with him), but it was important to her to deal with Cam. You know, thought Cam, that’s really something to be glad about! Not that Cam was feeling very glad about whatever he was going to get as punishment – he wasn’t feeling good about that at all! But it did make sense why his mom was going to punish him: She didn’t want someone she loved so much to grow up into the kind of person who would rather sin than do right.
On a smaller scale, the lesson Cam was learning that day is exactly the lesson God teaches in His Word in Hebrews 12:5-7. To “chasten” someone is to punish, or discipline, that person. Parents like Cam’s make the effort to discipline their children because they love them and want them to become the right kind of people. And God disciplines His children, too. He chastens the “sons” and “daughters” whom He loves. What kind of sons and daughters would they be, really, if no one cared enough about them to claim them and chasten them for wrongdoing? If they were not God’s children, He would not bother to discipline them. But they are His, and they can delight (even in the middle of painful punishment) in knowing that He loves them too much to let them get away with wrongdoing. He wants them to grow and change into “the family resemblance” – into the likeness of His glorious Son, Jesus Christ.
God lovingly disciplines His children, for His own glory and for their own good.
» Does the Lord ever have to “chasten” me?
» How do I respond to punishment and discipline from the Lord?
» How should I respond?