Kindness in the Sternness

My dad was, in some people’s opinion, pretty strict. He had expectations of us that at times seemed pretty high. They really weren’t unreasonable, but they were higher than some of my friends’ parents expectations of them.

As is the case with most families, we also had a number of rules. Some rules you just didn’t break, and for the most part we didn’t. We knew that they would be bring consequences, but more than that, we knew they were there to keep us on the right path. Oh sure, we broke rules, we push the limits, we didn’t meet expectations, and there were times we were downright defiant.

But when we did these things, we were not given a free pass. We were disciplined. Biblical discipline is very different than punishment. Punishment is meant to hurt in the moment, discipline is intended to teach a lesson. I remember many lectures that seemed to go on forever when I did something that was not necessarily a sin, but against the family rules or expectations. I also remember punishments that were not fun, but you know what I remember the most? I remember my dad, after the business of the moment had passed, sitting with me and talking. I remember him showing understanding, kindness, and love. I remember that I never walked away from a punishment or a consequence angry. But I do remember walking away ready and determined to do right the next time.

When I think of godly parenting, this is what comes to mind. When we read Romans 11:22

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Sternness and Kindness. This was my dad, and perhaps a large part of why I feel like I have a good understanding of the character of my Heavenly Father. God is a loving compassionate God. God is a stern God who desires that we live right. When we approach the Lord in prayer we should always approach Him with a recognition of His loving graceful sternness. Prayer is a wonderful gift from the Lord, an opportunity to draw closer to Him and have your heart changed by His love.

Today’s thought: Your ability to understand and embrace the truth about God and who he is, has the greatest impact on who you are and how you live your life. The power of prayer hinges upon your understanding of who God is.

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