Friday, February 2, 2024

Taking the Chastisement - Martin Wiles

Taking the Chastisement
For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. Hebrews 12:6 NLT

She knew what she'd done—and took her punishment willingly.

Our little Chihuahua-terrier mix has a sweet tooth. After many episodes of her getting into candy, suckers, and chocolate of various types, we learned to put away the trash can, shut doors, and remove any other candy within her reach while we were away. 

But one Valentine's Day, we forgot. One of our grandson's teachers had given a Valentine's party for the students in her class. Our grandson had come home with a large bag full of candy, which he placed on the floor by my wife's recliner. When the phone rang, telling us my wife's car was ready at the repair shop, we all piled into my old car and headed off to get it. 

When we returned and walked into the house, Rita lay crouched by my wife's recliner. Since she sometimes greets us that way, I thought nothing of it—until I walked into the den. There on the floor lay an empty box of conversational hearts, or what remained. She had torn the box top off, and a few hearts lay scattered about. The rest were in Rita's stomach. 

"Ritaaaaa," I said in my most chiding voice. (I'm not too good at scolding her since she's my little lap dog and spoiled to boot.) She laid her ears back and cowered a little lower, but remained where she was. 

"Ritaaaa." My wife's booming voice brought a different reaction. Rita scurried to the bedroom and scooted into her kennel—and stayed without the gate latched. "She knows what to do when she's in trouble," my wife said. 

After a few minutes—when I thought she had learned her lesson, even though I knew better—I said, "Rita, you can come out now." And she did, tail wagging and tongue going. 

I've never enjoyed punishing any animal I've ever owned, but I know they must learn what they should and should not do. I consider it more training than discipline, although that's what discipline is. 

God disciplines because we are His children, and He loves us—just as my parents disciplined me because I belonged to them and they were responsible for my behavior.  

I'll be the first to admit I don't much like God's chiding—and sometimes, like my dog, I crouch down when I know it's coming. But occasionally, I'll do what Rita did: take it like a man because I know God has my best interests at heart. I'll crouch a little lower because I know I've done wrong and then willingly go to my kennel—or wherever God sends me—until He sets me free, which is when He knows I've learned my lesson . . . at least for the moment. 

Rita doesn't get into trouble nearly as much as she once did. She has tired of the kennel and the gentle spankings on her rear end. She also knows she's less likely to get treats when she breaks the rules. As she has gotten older, the lessons have stuck—not entirely, but more than they once did. Wisdom comes with age. And not only for dogs. 

When you get off track—or eat what you're not supposed to—take God's chastening with a good spirit. After all, He does it with love and for your own good. 

Prayer: Father, thank You for caring for me through disciplinary measures.

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