Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. On this day we should all prepare ourselves for Lent.
Now, on to today's reading.
Today's reading has some famous verses that I would bet you all have heard before. "Endure hardship as discipline... For what son is not disciplined by his father? (verse 7)
"God disciplines us for our good,..." (verse 10)
What do these verses mean? God disciplines us? Do we worship a mean God? These verses have prompted these type of questions for a long time. People who wish to discredit Christianity and the Bible point to these verses indicating that God does not love us. I respectfully disagree with those who point to these verses with that motive. Let me explain why.
When I was growing up I played many sports, basketball, baseball, football. I remember a particular basketball coach who would scream at some of us and not other. I remember a football coach who would grab my face mask and shake my head while screaming at me. Why did these coaches do these things? At the time I thought it was because they hated me, or were evil in some way. One thing I noticed is that these coaches behaved this way to some of the players but not to all of them. Did these coaches just hate us and liked the others? It sure seemed that way.
One day I had the opportunity to discuss something with one of these coaches in his office. As our discussion was drawing to a close I summoned the nerve to ask him why he did what he did. He responded that he only spends his energy on the players that had potential. The players that could be good. He did not want to expend energy, time, and effort on those that would not improve. On players that did not care.
This coach's explanation, I feel, is fully in line with today's reading. Like these coaches, God only disciplines the ones in which he sees potential. The ones he wants to make better. The ones in his circle.
The next time you feel God is grabbing your facemask and shaking your head while screaming at you, remember "God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." (verse 10)