How does God discipline his children?
May 26, 2011
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How does God discipline his children? My friend said her son fell and broke his arm because God was punishing her for gossiping about a neighbor. Is that true? Does God really cause pain to children to teach their parents a lesson?
It seems like your friend’s statement upsets you. I’ve heard people say that kind of thing and it really bothers me too. This is what I believe about how God disciplines his children.
God disciplines his children by allowing them to experience the relational consequences of their wrong behavior.
- Sometimes the things we do, like your friend’s gossip, will lead to strained or broken relationships.
- Lying and cheating others will make us lonely and distrustful.
- When our relationships are strained we need examine our actions to determine if we are the problem.
God disciplines his children by allowing them to experience the physical results of sin.
- Some behaviors cause stress and tension in our minds and bodies.
- Some sins will lead to illness in the person who does them.
- Wrong behaviors don’t cause all our physical ailments. Bacteria and viruses are the source of many physical problems. However, our lifestyle choices can set us up for illness. This is a good reason for some Spirit guided self examination when we are sick.
God disciplines his children by allowing them to feel the spiritual effects of their sins.
- Sin will always produce guilt. This spiritual pain is God’s call to find out what’s wrong in our lives.
- Not doing what we know is right and doing what we know is wrong will create a feeling of distance in our relationship with God.
- Our wrong behaviors can give us an unusually intense fear of being near to God. This is a sure sign we need to determine where we’ve gone bad.
Finally, God does not discipline his children by causing pain to their loved ones. That’s the act of a terrorist not a holy God.
BONUS THOUGHT: God always has our best interest in view when he disciplines us. He works to prevent even deeper pain and regret later. (Hebrews 12:4-11)
Perhaps others can share more advice in the comments. If this post has helped you or if you believe it might help someone you know, please share it. Thank you.