(My friends from New Life will recognize the input from Dr. Michelle Anthony and her book, “Spiritual Parenting”)
Why do we punish our children? Why does God punish us? Why do we punish ourselves?
Many of us have lived in a culture of shame and condemnation, for years, for generations. We see God on His Great White Throne of judgement, glaring down on His rebellious children, waiting for the moment they fail, so that He can strike us down. When He doesn’t kill us, we think He doesn’t see us. So there is no comfort in His lack of action either. We crave boundaries, rules that we can follow and earn favor with. To be left in an apparent vacuum creates confusion and stress.
Can I start this saying, “be still and know that He is God.”
Our goal in punishment is to make the act of our disobedience so painful that the sinner never wants to sin again.
And this never works.
Did you hear me? IT NEVER WORKS!
People get good at covering their shame and guilt, gold-plating their failures and molding the rules to their advantage. But guilt and shame, hatred, fear are all tools that satan uses, not God.
Always with God, the goal of punishment is healing and restoration. He seeks to expose the hidden brokenness so that the root of our torture can be removed, so that His love, His Spirit can fill the emptiness.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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 by it.”
Hebrews 12:7-11 NIV
To order Dr. Anthony’s book, click on the link below.