Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Hebrews 12:4-11 (NIV)
God Disciplines His Children
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 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.
In a loving household centered on God’s grace there is no place for punishment. Remember, Jesus took that! But there is a need for discipline. Discipline teaches right from wrong and good from bad, while punishment teaches fear. Punishment does not seek growth and transformation. A coach once told me, “If I stop yelling at you then you know I don’t care”. Why? Yelling was his way of getting my attention to help me be more disciplined and perform at a higher level. God does not punish His children. Again, that punishment was given to Jesus! But God does discipline. Sometimes God even has to “yell” at us to get our attention and knock some sense into us. But just as a coach is trying to help an athlete perform at a higher level, so the discipline of God is for our good to produce a “harvest of righteousness and peace”. As a child of God seek Him and desire His discipline for your good.