Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Punishment for the Crime.

Now as an adult I sometimes struggle with discipline. I often wonder if God disciplines us? He is a loving God. He is a gracious God. What would his punishment look like?

Hebrews 12: 4-11
God Disciplines His Children
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 
 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son?
  It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
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.

Soon after the affair ended and Scott and I started rebuilding our marriage, I started having health issues. Serious health issues. After some testing I was told that I would not be able to get pregnant. Scott and I had not started trying at this point. We were focusing our marriage and knew, that for us, we would be waiting a while before we would start having a family. We, of course, wanted to eventually have babies. So this news was very hard to take.

I immediately deemed the news from the doctors as a form of punishment from God. It was some how a punishment to my sinful living. It was because I had ruined my marriage bed. The Bible tells us in Hebrews that the Lord disciplines those he loves. It was settled that I was being punished.

Several years down the road, Scott and I decided to start trying to have a baby. It took us several years to conceive, but soon after we found out we were expecting, we had a miscarriage. The doctor told me that my uterus was not conducive to caring. We were crushed.

I struggled for a long while with anger towards God. Why would he punish me for my affair by withholding children from Scott? I was so furious. I did not want to believe that God was loving and gracious. He was unleashing his power and wrath on me and my uterus. It took me several months to finally except that I deserved to be punished for my sin and that if God indeed felt that I shouldn't have babies then so be it. It was a fitting punishment for the crime I had committed.

However, as I look back at this story in my life..I can now clearly see that God was not using my health as a punishment. I also have learned that Punishment is too harsh a word. God doesn't "punish" us he disciplines us. There is a big difference between the words. In my naivety I was using the words interchangeable.

The dictionary defines the words as follows:

1.the act of punishing.
2.the fact of being punished, as for an offense or fault.
3.a penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.
4.severe handling or treatment.

1.training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2.activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3.punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4.the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5.behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.

I found that there is a settle difference between the two.

I have learned from my past that the Lord does indeed discipline us for sinning. God does not discipline us with retribution. He is not a detached, ruthless or unemotional God who wants to make us pay for what we did. Indeed Not. Our Lord is loving and caring. He loves us. We are his children. Just as I would train my young children, the Lord loving and gently guides and corrects us. He has high standard for us. He wants us to be Holy just as he is holy.

I also found an article from Gotquestions.org that made this point,
"God will use testing, trails and various predicaments to bring us back to himself in repentance. The results of his discipline is stronger faith and a rewarding relationship with God, but most importantly to destroy the hold of that particular sin over us."

I agree with this statement. After the affair ended Scott and I were in the mist of a marital emergency. We endured testing as we rebuild our marriage. But though the lessons we learned out faith has been strengthened and we matured together as our character was being shaped and molded by the Lord. The sin of of my affair was removed by the Lord. He has wiped out my iniquity and I am made anew!! I have learned my lesson as far as the disciple goes. With the help of the Lord, I have destroyed the hold that the infidelity had on my life. I am still dealing with the consequences, but that's another topic.

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