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Responding Properly to Discipline and Correction

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Being "nonjudgmental" is considered a virtue these days. Odd, isn't it, since people hire golf pros and personal fitness trainers to critique and give advice? The golf pros know that the people they critique have the desire to improve their game, so they ask for help. "Tell me what I'm doing wrong. I want to do better." We say this so easily to a sports trainer but don't like the idea of a "morality pro," disciplining us and correcting our mistakes. We even resist the idea of a God who acts in this way.

But that is exactly the kind of God revealed in the Bible. He wants us to do better, to improve, to show more love to him and to other people. God is one who loves, and genuine love involves discipline.

"Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you to help you. So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and fearing him."

"Consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin. For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal." Job 5:17-18

Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

The LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12

Don't bother rebuking mockers; they will only hate you. But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more. Proverbs 9:8

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:32

A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool. Proverbs 17:10

Valid criticism is as treasured by the one who heeds it as jewelry made from finest gold. Proverbs 25:12

It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool! Ecclesiastes 7:5

When we are judged and disciplined by the Lord, we will not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:32

Our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said, "My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children." As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening -- it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:5-12

The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J. Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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About The Author

J. Stephen

J. Stephen Lang is the author of more than ten books about the Bible, including the bestselling The Complete Book of Bible Trivia, 1,001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible but Never Thought to Ask, The Bible on the Big Screen, Everyday Biblical Literacy, and The Complete Book of Bible Promises. Lang is a regular contributor to Today's Christian, Discipleship Journal, Christian History and other periodicals. He lives in Seminole, Florida.