My grandfather’s cousin, Inez, was like a grandmother to my brother and me growing up. She was the one that was at home after school. She cooked, supervised homework, and generally baby sat us whenever needed. She had her own room in our house.
And she was “old school”. She grew up down in Monck’s Corner and had that old south, charlestonian kind of mind.She knew how to cut a “switch” off the bushes in the back and was not afraid to use the paddle. More than once she warned us, “I will tan your fanny, if you ….”
So how do you tell a 4 or 5 year old child not to play in the street. You cannot say, “Don’t go out in the road, a car might run over you.” There is no experience to relate that to. “Huh,” the child thinks. So you warn them, “Play in the street and I will spank you.” That most could understand. Unless you are one of those who doesn’t believe in spanking, in which case I will pray for you.
Does a parent discipline their child because they do not love them? Of course not. Discipline is a sign of love. And in the same way, our heavenly Father loves us. He disciplines us to correct our behavior and to teach us right and wrong. He calls His church to practice loving discipline.
Recently, someone dropped a comment in our church offering plate on a “Connection Card” that said, “Love one another. You are a liar if you say you love God and don’t love one another.” Honestly, this came from someone who needs to receive church discipline. That would be the most loving thing that could be done. But churches today rarely practice discipline. We think, “That would not be nice. We should tolerate everything and everyone.”
A deacon once said to me, “You expect more out of the church we planted in west Africa than you do out of us? After pondering that, I said, “Yes, that is true.” So then he asked, “Why is that?” After thoughtful reflection I finally said, “Because I can.” We have strayed so far from the Biblical ideal that we really need God to intervene and restore the church. But I fear God will not do for us what He has told us to do ourselves.