grace-filled discipline

One of my sons was having a rough day. All of the typical sins that he struggles with were bubbling at the surface. He lost privileges. He spent time in time-out. By the end of the afternoon a particular indecent got him sent to his room. I was at my wits end. I was grieved not only at the behavior but at the state of his heart that was being revealed.

After giving us both some time to cool off I knocked quietly on his door and asked to talk to him. I sat on the chair next to his bed and quietly explained why his behavior was wrong. I said, “You were acting like a bully toward your brother.” Tears began to fall down his face as his chin quivered. I saw his heart go from hard to soft in the blink of an eye. I opened my arms and he somehow managed to curl his growing body on to my lap. His whole body shook as he cried.

“Can you tell me what you are feeling?” I questioned gently.

“It hurt my feelings when you called me a bully!” was the answer.

“Were or were you not being a bully?”

“I was.” brought on more tears.

“I know that you don’t want to be a bully. I am thankful to see that being shown your sin causes you to be sad. Our sin should make us sad because it is rebellion against God. It is wrong and it hurts others. But let me ask you something else, why did Jesus come and die on the cross?”

“To forgive us of our sins.” This son of mine knows the answer in his head.

“That’s right. God’s love, grace, and forgiveness are so great that He will forgive you when you act like a bully. Isn’t that great news?! He knows that you will sin and act like a bully some times, that is why He sent Jesus to rescue you. Our sin makes us sad but we don’t have to stay sad. We can ask God for forgiveness, feel His love, and then be joyful because we know that nothing we can ever do will cause Him to stop loving us!”

We prayed together confessing sin and thanking God for His forgiveness and love with the afternoon light streaming in like a benediction.


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