Discipline, Division, and Other Ruminations

I’ve been reading Hebrews 12 this week. I have to admit I am confused about God’s discipline of his children. I comprehend all the factual information such as discipline exists, discipline is a natural response from a loving father, discipline demonstrates our family connection to the Father, etc. What the “Hebrew Writer” (Do you think maybe Apollos is in heaven screaming: it was me! it was me!) forgot to dileneate for us is how do we know when we are suffering whether it is the discipline of our Father or the affliction of our Enemy? I’d like to know your thoughts.

It’s the weekend so I do not expect a grand number of readers. If any of you are in Central Arkansas, I will be preaching at University Church of Christ in Conway this Sunday morning. I don’t know what time, but I’m staying with preacher Dusty Rush and family so he’ll make sure I’m there on time. Now if he can get Maggy there on time…that’s another story. Miracles never cease!  Anyway, if you give me a good answer on the discipline of God I might use it Sunday morning.

Maggy and I spent last night in her parent’s home. Without divulging personal details and gossipy stories, their church has suffered a disastrous division that has left everyone (I’m sure on both sides) reeling. I can identify with the pain that this has caused for so many godly people. We have been through the same thing several years ago. Many tears are being shed as sides are chosen, families are divided, and faith is shaken. From my own experience one of the greatest offenses in division is the loss of the ability to trust … even the willingness to trust. This is damaged so severely that it takes years to overcome, if ever. To be a leader in a divided church is a significantly huge challenge. I have prayed for the remaining elders and continue to pray. Unfortunately, we see this happen too often in churches.

How do people of diverse opinions serve together in unity? It is only when our focus is on Jesus … when things that make us uncomfortable are not considered sin … when we are willing to allow our brothers and sisters to serve their Father to the best of their frail ability without our critique. Every division I have ever known was because of personality conflicts and demands that others bow to our interpretations of Scripture. This sin not only hurts the Christians in a city, but it hurts the name of Christ in a community. It has the heartbreaking effect of discouraging those who may be close to making a commitment to Christ. People are being lost, discouraged, trampled … now what was so important that a division had to occur? Our Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. He does his work so well.

There are soooo many good blogs this weekend … I’ll link a few and encourage you to leave comments at each one. It is a blessing to read your comments … it’s a great way to share some love.

LINKS

Al Sturgeon thinks out loud about purpose and pathways through life.

After an affair … the church’s responsibility in picking up the pieces … Danny Reflects.

Some Great thoughts on Baptism and our Restoration History … where else but on Bobby’s Blog!

Ray Hawk thinks about THE PATTERN.

Gary Kirkendall on Conflict Resolution.

Thanks for reading,

john

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