My daughter Olivia is a cute kid. Chubby cheeks. Smooth skin. To-die-for eyelashes. Okay, perhaps I’m just a bit biased, nonetheless I think she’s cute and I’m okay if others disagree. But I digress.
She is quickly turning into a three-nager and right now we are in the throws of the pre-threens complete with overtired meltdowns and purposefully defiant moments of ignoring me just because.
And sometimes, because I think she is cute, I’m guilty of minimizing the severity of her misbehavior. In fact, I think some of her tantrum antics are often downright hilarious.
But lately God has been equipping me with the foreshadowed clarity of how failing to correct today’s behavior can have more detrimental implications in the future. As a Christian parent, discipline is simply a tool to help instill biblical values and shepherd her towards a relationship with Christ. If I love her, then I will correct her. If I care about her soul and her future, I will chasten her.
This is similar to how God deals with us.
He is our heavenly Father. Through the blood of Jesus, we are, in essence, His rambunctious bunch of “cute” kids. Yet, He never falls for our batting eyes, pouty faces, or “crocodile tears” and lets us get away with our sin. Rather, He uses our circumstances to produce a holy character in us. He knows exactly how our current actions, or inactions, will impact our futures. He is keenly aware of the impact today’s little white lie will have tomorrow, or even 5 years from now.
His rod of correction is never the result of anger. Rather it is for the purpose of transforming us into Christ’s likeness and preventing us from continuing down a path of further turmoil and sin.
The Bible is clear that whom the Lord loves He chastens. And it also states,
“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.” — Hebrews 12:11
Too often I fear the chastening of God’s hand rather than embracing it as a sign of love. It’s not always easy for me to take responsibility for what I’ve done, humbly accepting that my short-term discomfort is for my long-term good.
As a people-pleaser and self-proclaimed perfectionist, correction bothers me. I hate to disappoint. I hate to be told I didn’t do something well enough. To be found wrong often knocks the wind out of my sail. Sadly, I’ve got quite a bit of ego wrapped up in my desire to be “Miss Perfect.” And still, when I know I have done wrong I dread hearing the small, still voice speak back to me, “Diera, you shouldn’t do that.”
Today I challenge myself to embrace correction as a sign of His love. While He’s always bottom line and direct in His conversation with me, the more clearly and sternly I receive His guidance the more I realize it’s all because He loves me.
Diera Shaw-Mendez is a minister and youth leader at New Beginnings Worship Center, Pennsauken, NJ, and works full-time for an educational nonprofit in Philadelphia. She is wife to Chaplain Juan Mendez and mama to Olivia Joy. She spends her “spare time” running an online invitation design shop on Etsy. Diera is a God-fearing, Starbucks loving, tech junkie (…in that order!) who simply wants to remind women of God’s unchanging, healing love.