Robert watched as his dad pounded a post into the ground close to a young tree and then began to tie the tree to the post. "Why are you doing that?" Robert asked.
"If I don't," Dad answered, "this tree will not be straight and tall when it's fully grown." He put his hand on the small tree trunk. "See how it's beginning to lean to the left? If I don't do something about that now, it will keep on leaning until it's too late to correct it."
When Dad finished the job, Robert patted the tree trunk, a grin on his face. "Don't take it too hard, little tree," he said playfully. "It might hurt now, but later you'll be glad you were straightened out."
"Is that how you feel when I have to straighten you out on certain things?" Dad asked with a smile.
Robert laughed. "Not really, but that's what you always tell me," he replied.
"Well, when I see you doing things that aren't very Christ-like, it's my duty to correct you and help you change your ways," Dad said. "Now when you think about it, aren't you glad I do that for you?"
Robert didn't answer immediately as he recalled various times he had been punished. Sometimes he'd been grounded, was not allowed to watch TV, or was assigned extra chores. It isn't any fun when that kind of thing happens, but I guess it works, he thought. At least it helps keep me from doing the same bad stuff over again.
"I don't like to punish you," Dad was saying, "but if I'm going to be the kind of father you can be proud of, and if you're going to be the kind of son I can be proud of--and the kind of person God wants you to be--it's sometimes necessary."
Robert knew his dad was right. "Yeah, I really am glad you correct me," he decided. After a moment, he added with a grin, "Just don't ask me how I feel about it when it's happening!"
HOW ABOUT YOU?
How do you feel when you’re disciplined for doing wrong things? Are you angry and resentful? Or do you recognize that someone is working to help you become a better person? God says correction is necessary to make you what you ought to be. Discipline may sting, but be thankful for it. Thank God for parents, grandparents, teachers, or other adults who care enough for you to correct you and help make you the person God wants you to be.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Proverbs 19:18 (KJV)
Chasten (correct) your son (or daughter) while there is hope.