God Isn’t Trying to Pay You Back

Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” For what son is not disciplined by his father?….No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:5-8,11

Many people have a warped view of God’s reaction to our sin.

They think that if God is disciplining them, He’s out to get them. They’ve walked away from God, so now He’s paying them back. Getting even. Settling the score.

This misses the whole point of God’s discipline.
God doesn’t discipline us to pay us back but to bring us back.

To our senses.
To the life we were saved for.
To Him.

One of the most unloving things God could do would be to allow you to live in sin and operate under the illusion that you’re still close to Him. Conversely, one of the most loving things God can do is to bust you in your sin. To make you realize just how far away you are from him. To get you to see just how far you’ve drifted, and how desperately you need to come back.

And so sometimes God will discipline us. He will accept your momentary pain for your eternal pleasure. He doesn’t have a vendetta. He’s not trying to settle scores. He’s not trying to pay us back.

God’s wrath is satisfied.
The score was settled on the cross.
What payment does He have to gain from us that Jesus hasn’t already given to Him?

If you’re a Christian, there is absolutely no wrath left for you. The only thing remaining is God’s loving discipline. If you’re experiencing that right now, God doesn’t hate you. He is just trying to bring you back to Him.

God’s children don’t need to be worried about His discipline.
In fact, they should only ever be worried if they never experience it.

If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
Hebrews 12:8

This blog post was originally published on July 5, 2011