“Because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:12 (NIV)
Ahh, was I ever frustrated! My exhausted mind refused to focus on the grammar of this foreign language.
It had been a long month since my arrival. My host sisters spoke better English than I did German. They loved to practice English but house rules dictated German was to be spoken at all times with the exception of Friday nights.
Today was not Friday.
My host mother didn’t understand English. But she knew German grammar, and knew how to properly use all five translations of ‘the.’ I did not. Early on, I established an annoying habit of assigning ‘die’ to each and every noun I used.
Unintentionally, I drove her crazy!
She constantly corrected me. At night, exhausted and just trying to communicate, her voice rang in my ears, imparting great amounts of grammatical wisdom.
At seventeen, I missed appreciation for appropriate grammar, but I do recall how she graciously handled my evident chagrin over her correction.
“Stefanie,” she’d said, “I wouldn’t correct you if I though you couldn’t learn it.” (I recall mulling over her words, which were of course in German, and upon realizing what she’d said, temporarily celebrated the fact she believed I contained the capacity to learn it!)
That was two decades ago; her words are still with me. They remind me of Proverbs 3.
Would you correct someone if you didn’t:
- Care what he was doing?
- Care about him?
- Believe he was capable of doing better?
As a mom, I would not attempt correction unless all three criteria were met. Parents discipline because they love, believe kids can do better, and they care their kids do things correctly.
God disciplines us because He loves us. (John 3:16) He knows, through Christ, we can do better. (Philippians 4:13) And, God cares that we do things right, so we can share in His holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)
Hebrews 12:11 encourages, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained for it.” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV)
German grammar, like the Christian life, isn’t easy. I haven’t completely mastered either, but I have grown in both. My time abroad taught me an important life lesson: Just as my host-mom corrected my grammar, God will discipline and correct me. Even when He sees I’m tired. Even when he sees I’m frustrated.
But I should not resent His correction. He’s correcting me because He loves me. He’s correcting me because He knows I can do better. And, He’s correcting me to lead me to an abundant life.
Yes, the Lord disciplines those He loves!
How do I view discipline when I’m giving it?
How do I often view discipline when I’m receiving it?
Considering discipline, do I need an attitude adjustment?
Dear Lord, Thank You for Your discipline. Thank You for caring enough about me and about what I do to correct me. I haven’t always appreciated that discipline and for that I’m sorry. Please forgive my attitude and help shape my heart into one which readily receives your instruction and your correction.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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