Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Look Ye Saints"1 (Lyrics)
Proverbs 3:11-12 – My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (NIV)
Hebrews 12:11 – 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. (NIV)
A few nights ago, a young neighbour boy came over to play. He was hanging out in the sitting room, colouring quietly. After some time, he began playing with a decorative pillow, tossing it up in the air and back down again. But soon, he started to be aggressive with his throws, and the pillow knocked the clock off the wall. It crashed down onto the ground and broke apart. I could see the look of horror on his face. (This is a Ugandan boy, and if it had happened at home, he would most likely have been caned.)
I immediately had to pray for God's wisdom in disciplining this child. He was not disobedient — it was an accident. I didn't want to see fear in his eyes.
I took a deep breath, counted the broken pieces on the floor, looked at the child, and with a smile, said, "Do you think that was the smartest game to play?" He hung his head at first, but then looked back at me and replied, "No. I'm sorry Auntie K." I informed him that all was fine. We could fix the clock nicely the next day if we got some super glue, and he was so happy. He was forgiven. Of course, I had to continue delighting in him; he's a neighbour whom I love dearly.
How often we react out of anger, frustration, or pride! I believe that the Lord wants us to learn to discipline those under our authority with love and forgiveness, in order to produce right living and peaceful relationships. We should try to respond to painful wrongdoings with the wisdom which comes only from God.
Looking at the clock, I found that God was showing me a few reminders for discipline:
- Within a quick second, I can either create change or worsen a relationship.
- Within a minute, I can say a quick prayer to ask God to grant wisdom.
- The broken, but glued frame shows me that it's possible to move on and gain control again.
- An hour is plenty of time to restore dignity to a child who has done something wrong.
- And thankfully God gives me many days to train up a child!
God delights in His children. How beautiful! Delight doesn't feel like a caning; it feels like a hug, a smile, and a conversation of repentance, forgiveness, and love. Delight grows dignity and harvests righteousness and peace.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for loving us and disciplining us. We are sorry for the things that we have done wrong, and we ask You to help us to correct our actions and attitudes and make things right again. Help us to delight in our children and to discipline them with love, dignity, and respect. We are eternally grateful that forgiveness comes from You. Lord, we request that You would also help us to forgive those who have sinned against us. In Your Son's holy name, we pray. Amen.
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Well done, a good message.
Good reminder Karen. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for modeling an alternate form of discipline for us in this devotional. Blessings.
Thank you Karen.
Thanks for a good word this morning Karen, well done.
Blessings and prayers.
A good reminder for all parents and grandparents .
Thank you for your good reminder of how much more forgiveness teaches than punishment. That boy will remember you and Christ’s love the rest of his life.
Thank you for sharing your story of the clock with us. You have shown God’s forgiveness to that little boy so nicely. God bless you.
Thank you for your beautiful words of wisdom. Thank you also for serving the Lord so well.
God bless you always.
Your reflection should be mandatory reading for all parents, aunts and uncles!
Thank you Karen for this beautiful story. What a gift you gave him of being forgiven with love but also reminded that his actions have consequences. He is truly blessed to have you as a neighbor and also to you for having him in your life.
God bless you at this Easter time,
How beautiful! This is hard to believe, but just reading about your reaction has given me a sense of forgiveness for things I did as a child; things I have felt guilt for all my life! You have brought beautiful healing to me just by sharing your story – and from the other side of the world!!! I am so amazed, and so grateful. Blessings on your day.
Thank you, Karen, for sharing a beautiful example of how, with love and kindness, a broken clock (or other such calamity) can become a beautiful teachable moment. Too often we tend to be reactionary, and you have shown us that, to take time for prayer in the midst of what could be chaos, can allow God to calm our hearts and equip us to follow Christ’s example.
It takes a village to raise a child, and God has placed this young boy close to you, and others, that he may learn and grow in God’s amazing love. Thank you again, for allowing God to work in you and through you. May He continue to bless you to make a beautiful difference in the lives of those in your community and beyond.
This is a very helpful message. I am a retired teacher and often wondered how to keep order in a classroom without being too demanding and giving a military impression to the situation. I often heard other teachers discussing in the staffroom how to make necessary discipline creative and positive so that every child would retain dignity and be given help to behave in a way that made the learning environment a safe, pleasant and productive place to be for all the students. We all knew that disruptive behaviour could not be ignored, but how could it be turned into a positive experience? Sometimes we would joke about needing to take “mean pills.” Your suggestions are a much better strategy. The teachings of Jesus and his demonstrations of how to be loving and caring in a way that encourages others to also be loving and caring give us understanding of how to relate to those around us.
Thanks for this thought-provoking message and the interesting and personal context.
Thank you so much, Karen, for giving us an example of a good kind of discipline that faces wrong squarely, fixes the damage, and shows forgiveness and love.
Keep writing. God bless you.
Forgiveness doesn’t erase our bitter past, it does enlarge our future. Forgiving others is the force we all need to arm ourselves with. Hope you had a very blessed Easter, Karen.
Thank you Karen for sharing this very precious incident. Such treatment of love are indeed remembered for many years by little children.