Discipline Means He Loves Us|
Just like disciplining our children
Q. I am having a difficult time coping with something I did that harmed others close to me. How can I be restored to fellowship and God's love? Because, I think God is disciplining me and it terrifies me.
Thank goodness we don't have to be "wiped out" and completely disheartened when we repent of our sins in the midst of God's discipline. That isn't what the Lord wants for His children.
Thankfully, Scripture provides us with many insights regarding God's love for us as His children - even when He disciplines us. For instance, Hebrews 12:6 says:
"For the Lord disciplines the one he
and chastises every son whom he
We Are His Kids
In fact, if God does NOT react to our sins we have something to worry about. That would mean He has cast us out from His presence and does not consider us His "kids." But, when He disciplines us "God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" (Hebrews 12:7, ESV).
Even in the Lord's stern rebuke to the Church in Laodicea He says, "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent" (Revelation 3:19).
Our Trials May Strengthen Others
When Jesus told Peter he would deny and fail Him, He said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:31).
Jesus knew Peter would fail - yet, he foretold Peter's ability to help others with their failures after he emerged from this trial.
He Comforts Us To Comfort Others
The apostle Paul continues this theme in 2 Corinthians 1:4 when he states, "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others." Paul continues to explain, "When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (NLT).
No Need For Excessive Sorrow
Not only does God comfort us, He lets us know He doesn't want us to excessively grieve and mourn over our failures and sins.
How do we know this?
Paul tells us…"if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path" (Galatians 6:1).
Why should we gently and humbly help someone back onto the right path?
"Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow" (2 Corinthians 2:6-7, NASB).
Love&Forgive to Avoid Satan's Schemes
It is extremely important that we reaffirm our love to a sinning church member. We must forgive him from our hearts "so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:20-11).
Inordinate Grief Unnecessary
According to Ryrie's study notes on this passage,
…"the rebel had been punished sufficiently and had repented. Apparently some wanted a severer penalty (vv. 6-8). Paul feared that excessive punishment might cause the offender to be overcome by inordinate grief. Therefore, he urged the church to affirm their love for him. The forgiven brother needed to be restored to fellowship, lest Satan put him under the pressure of continued self-accusation and introspection. Also, as long as the matter was not settled Satan kept Paul and the church estranged" (Ryrie Study Bible 1996, 1849).
I don't know if we have the capacity to understand the horror of being cast into outer darkness away from the love of God and His presence. A Talbot Theological Seminary professor, James Borror, once said, "The opposite of love is not hate. Rather, the opposite of love is indifference!"
Those of us who have been rejected by family or friends understand how true this is. It is far more painful when people ignore us and don't care - more so than when they are furious with us. "Yell at me - but don't ignore me," summarizes our feelings about this condition.
Therefore, we can be grateful that God disciplines us because it shows that He cares about us. His love for us is faithful and enduring. We are His children and a family (Eph. 2:19).
"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35).
Nothing - No Thing - Separates Us From His Love
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39, NASB).
When we sin, we need remember only one thing: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (First John 1:9).
That's a promise from God.
Ryrie, Charles. 1996. Ryrie Study Bible, NASB. Chicago: Moody.