“It doesn’t feel like you love me…”
These were the words of my daughter Madeline after being on the receiving end of her father’s instruction and correction. To put it bluntly she didn’t like it. How many of us like chastisement? Especially as adults, when we think we’ve got things figured out.
Proverbs 3:10-11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD love He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.
These words, more often than not, are very difficult to accept, especially if you are in the middle of correction. I know I don’t like it in most cases, “it doesn’t feel like you love me…” say I.
It’s painful… Isn’t that the point?
Should the believer enjoy chastisement?
Hebrews 12:7-8 If you endure chastening, God deal with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
The word chasten is paideuō – which means to train up a child, that is, educate, or by (implication) discipline (by punishment): chasten (-ise), instruct, learn, teach.
For children, this can mean the rod…. Gasp! Yeah, not culturally relevant but since when has God’s word been culturally relevant?
For adults, this can mean the sword, the word of God (Hebrews 4:12), this is equally unpopular today. When was the last time another believer came to you and confronted you with sin in your life? I would say it rarely happens because it’s uncomfortable for the person coming to you, and it’s uncomfortable to the one going to that person.
It’s really tough, yet God’s word is pretty clear isn’t it?
Aren’t we commanded to go to people, or does it say only if it’s a really big sin?
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Jesus also told us to go to them if they’ve sinned – Matthew 18:15 and James affirms this in his epistle James 5:19.
Why is this so unpopular, and if we truly love people wouldn’t we warn them about unhealthy practices in their lives? Don’t we have warnings on cigarette packages that this is an addictive sin and it could lead to cancer? Do we condone drinking and driving and just wink and nod if a friend tells us they did that?
We don’t do it very often in the church because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, or we don’t want to risk embarrassment, or we most often don’t want to have that person turn on us and get angry. It’s pretty easy to know why we don’t do it.
Is it loving to confront sin or unloving? If we really care about people should we tell them they are in sin?
Or is your definition of love that you just look the other way and hope God deals with them? No! Believer this is your job. This is love, but yet to them, “it doesn’t feel like you love me…” as my daughter said. How can you trust your feelings? (Jeremiah 17:9) We can only trust the word of God.
This whole topic is very relevant in my life right now and I deeply love someone that I confronted in some sin. This is not a “10” sin on a scale, but does it matter? I say that because how much sin do we tolerate? Do we think for even a moment that the Lord is tolerant of a little sin, and only cares about the big stuff? Should we REALLY pursue holiness? Well the scripture tells us without it we won’t see the Lord and along with it we must pursue peace with all people (Hebrews 12:14). That is peace between man and God.
Did our Lord suffer a brutal punishment; take on the wrath of God, so that we can dabble in a little sin from time to time? Are we covered by grace? Well yes, we are but we shouldn’t use this as an opportunity to sin more. Certainly not!, emphatically says Paul (Romans 6:1).
John Owen writes: Until then (speaking of glorification) believers are ever to be killing sin, or sin will be killing them.”
God’s word has a lot to say on this topic but most people will just gloss over it…and churches certainly won’t preach and teach on it. “That’s waaaay too offensive and judgmental, besides we don’t even really know them.”
Yes, that is a problem isn’t it?
I want to finish with something that we should all meditate upon and really consider how we love people. All people, believers and non-believers alike, we must teach them that if we love God we will keep His commandments (John 15:9-10).
Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Do you see that when we confront sin, we are looking out for other’s interests? Can you also see that when we don’t we are being selfish? We are being selfish because we don’t want to deal with what might come our way. We are afraid to offend others, to possibly lose relationship with them.
Have you considered that love is an action, not a feeling, and to truly love we must give of ourselves for the benefit of others. You know like Jesus did… or do we live in fear of how they will react?
That is very real isn’t it? We don’t fear God enough to risk hurting others feelings.
That is really what it comes down to, and if we love them we must, just like I must discipline my children if I really love them.
We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God. —William Gurnall
 Owen, Mortification of Sin in Believers, in Works, 6:9.