But God’s judgment is discipline

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 If we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

Hebrews 12:5-6 Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.

Happy Mother’s Day, all you moms!

Since today is Mother’s Day, I’m skipping chapter 10 and will come back to it in the next post.  The tension between judgment and discipline, and the way each is handled, seems to me an important theme for parents—dads too!

Those of us who grew up not feeling loved by our parents may have an especially hard time figuring out the judgment/discipline dynamic. I love the practical counsel offered by Cloud and Townsend in their book Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children because it focuses on love as the context for discipline. It showed me that my own choices as a mom were more important than my children’s behavior. I wish I had understood this when my children were young.

Judgment is the evaluation we make of behavior against a standard. It alerts us to the need for shaping, training, and instruction, the definition of the word paideuo used by both Paul and the writer to the Hebrews. How different that is from being told to perform a task—with little or no instruction or opportunity to practice—and then being punished for not doing it well. That was a frequent pattern in my home growing up. It does lead to self-judgment, but not in a positive sense of developing healthy internal boundaries based on knowing one can do what is expected. It makes one want to give up, because the parent is impossible to please.

Our Father/Mother* God isn’t like that. Jesus shows us what he is like. I’m enchanted with the way Jesus is depicted for us in the wonderful series “The Chosen”. Watching that may be the best Mother’s Day gift you can give yourself!

*See, for example, Psalm 27:10, Isaiah 66:13, Hosea 11:3-4, Matthew 23:37.

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