“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.” Heb 12:10-13 NLT
I like the idea of becoming strong and sharing in the holiness of God. I do not like the idea of having to be disciplined.
Of course (winky face), I am the only one who feels that way. All the way back to Adam and Eve we have avoided accountability and discipline. My personality is such that I prefer to not mess up in the first place. That happens quite infrequently, though! It is the perfectionism I fight against nearly daily (the other days, it gets the best of me, sadly).
I desperately want to share in God's holiness. Holiness only comes from learning from the mistakes, it seems. The path to holiness, and therefore being more like Christ, is not the path of perfection. There is no easy path to holy living, I've tried a few. Law-living being one of them. It only served to confuse me and make the path of those behind less smooth.
My learning holiness the hard way means that others can get an easier break. My learning the hard way means I’m a better leader and a better teacher. We’ve all had that teacher (or many teachers) who couldn’t seem to translate what they’ve learned into a lesson. I have one in particular in mind. My sweet husband. He is vastly more athletic than am I. He naturally “gets” many physical movements, such as lifting weights properly and playing specific sports, that he can show someone what do but struggles with really breaking it down and teaching. This has lead to many arguments in our two decades old relationship. He is a willing, but not so great, teacher of some athletic things because he never really struggled in that area. He can teach in other areas because he has put in the time and struggle and learned the lessons
This is fundamentally what I hope to be about as a human, and specifically as a Jesus-follower. If even one person's load is easier because of what I have gone through, it will be worth it. To hide my struggles means to rob another of learning to see God’s love and grace and mercy. If my focus in my own image, I fail myself and others. I rob others of hope.
As a parent, I appreciate that this Scripture points out how as our earthly fathers did the best they knew how, God steps in. God's discipline is perfect, timely, and with only the necessary amount of force. Though I think it will take a 2x4 to get my attention, and many times that is the case, as I grow and learn to listen after the first fall, the I AM whispers and I have the opportunity to hear His Voice. With increased listening, I can learn from my mistakes and follow the better path the first time.
So do today, I will stand up no matter how shaky my legs, learn from my mistakes, and keep walking this path. I will be courageous in attempts to learn. It doesn’t have to be so hard, but is sure can be painful. Learn from my mistakes and I’ll try to learn from yours. We can do this together.