All in good humor here, but last week I spent quite a bit of time engaged in discussion with a couple of people about the “horrors” of the church, primarily how allegedly the entire church everywhere has become powerless, never speaks of sin, God’s discipline, or anything that might make people feel uncomfortable.
So I walked into church Sunday and the first thing I heard was, “For whom the LORD loves He reproves” and “Those I love, I rebuke and discipline.” I very nearly stood up and shouted, Now see, and the devil is a liar! It was somewhat comical, because they would have had no idea what in the world I was talking about, but God’s timing is just so perfect it makes me laugh sometimes.
Take that, random internet dudes.
So proceeded quite a wonderful sermon, a beautiful blend of love from the book of John, and discipline, too. Perfectly entwined as they should be.
The idea of love and discipline going hand in hand with one another can be really hard for some people. There are so many people who have trouble with authority, who have histories of abuse, who have hard time submitting to Christ. They simply cannot separate in their minds the difference between God correcting you out of love and their visions of some human bully on a power trip.
I always like to point out that “discipline” is the same root word as “disciple.” It simply means to teach. Sometimes it can be so hard to convince people that God is not out to get you, that God does not hate you, that God is not waiting to pounce the moment you do something wrong. Those things may be true of some human people, but that is not God at all.
Ironically those who were complaining the most about “the church” as a whole last week, revealed some other benefits of discipline, protection, provision, safety, order, a sense of belonging, and an awareness that you are loved.
Don’t let anyone tell you different. The devil is a liar.