I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead the tween/teen class for church, and the material I’ve been provided is very good. However, in today’s lesson (based parts of Amos) it appeared to separate God’s judgment and discipline from God’s love.
I think this is a mistake. I love my 7 year-old more than life itself, and might, out of that love, be “long-suffering”…but if I never never called him to the carpet when he needed it…how loving would that be?
Ditto when it comes to the larger world. For instance, in a classroom it would not be loving for a teacher to never correct a student…not loving to that student nor the rest of the class that suffers because of that child’s misbehavior. I’m sure you could start thinking up a bunch more examples (e.g. enabling a drug-addicted son or daughter).
So, I don’t think that our Lord’s justice and discipline are separate from His love. Instead, I believe it is a vital…loving…aspect of it.
And I would suggest Hebrews 12:5-7 confirms this (emphasis mine):
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Praise God He loves us so much He will do whatever it takes to set us straight!