Proverbs 15:5 A fool spurns his father’s discipline,
but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
This is part and parcel of the “fatherhood famine” that is afflicting the world today. Some fathers are trying their honest best to correct their children, but their children will have none of it. A major factor in that is that some fathers start too late in trying to establish discipline, but that’s not the whole story. Many people try to push responsibility off onto others, especially parents, wanting to excuse criminals because “they had a rough childhood.” What hogwash! Background can explain behavior, but it doesn’t excuse it. One of the verses in the song, “Swinging on a Star,” talks about people being like mules, “kicking up at everything they hear.” That’s what this verse is talking about. The thing is, it’s not just physical fathers that get this sort of foolish reaction. Our Heavenly Father has laid down rules for us, and He corrects us in various ways, some of them gentle and some of them less so. It is certainly the part of wisdom to listen to His correction! Accepting correction and discipline needs to be a lifestyle, not just an occasional thing. That’s part of the definition of genuine maturity. (Hebrews 5:14) Physical fathers, in training their children to accept appropriate correction and discipline, are not only preparing them to have satisfying, successful lives, they are also laying the groundwork for them to relate rightly to God.
I have certainly had times of relating less than perfectly to correction and discipline myself, and the result has never been good. As a grandfather at this point, my major interaction is with my Heavenly Father, but that certainly doesn’t make it any less important. As a pastor, I am “in loco parentis” (in the place of a parent) for quite a few people, and it grieves me when they react poorly to correction. However, I need to remember my own checkered past – and present – in relating to them, extending to them the grace that has been poured out on me. Just this morning the Lord had to scold me for being anxious about time and schedules, failing to trust Him for enough time to do what I need to do and being resentful about it all. I’m the one who loses out when I react that way, and those around me suffer the fallout as well. I need to respond well to my Father’s correction and discipline, so that I may be His agent in applying that to others as well, for their blessing and His glory.
Father, thank You for Your gentle patience with me. Sometimes I am amazed at how slow I am to learn! You know the people and the situations I encounter better than I do. Help me trust You for the wisdom and strength to deal with each one, so that Your will may be done at all times, on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!