A few weeks ago I wrote about my dog “Vincy” deciding he wanted to become an inside dog. At that point he hadn’t left the yard or caused trouble, but over the weekend he started to misbehave.
The problem actually started on Friday afternoon when he left the yard while I was gone, and fought with a few dogs. This wasn’t a huge issue so I allowed him to stay loose. But while taking a nap Sunday he once again left and fought with some dogs, resulting in some more serious wounds.
I couldn’t have my dog constantly leaving the yard so Vincy was beaten, and then put on a very short leash. He was originally supposed to spend three full days on the leash, but out of goodness of my heart I let him loose again on Wednesday.
This experience reminded me about the process of seeking out (and restoring) rebellious Believers…….
There must be a balance of both discipline, and restoration
It’s interesting that many people seem to have an either/or view when it comes to this situation. They are completely committed to discipline, or restoration. Those completely committed to discipline emphasize consequences for actions, and shame or guilt about those wrong actions in the future. Those completely committed to restoration are only interested in showing grace, and never want to make the person feel uncomfortable.
The truth is both of these views are flawed! Discipline without love brings obedience motivated by fear (not true obedience at all), and love without discipline isn’t true love at all.
The Biblical response is to bring discipline that is motivated by love
I did give my dog a beating with a slipper after running away (he deserved it!) and removed freedom. But I didn’t do that because it was fun or enjoyable, I did it so he would stop the bad habit of leaving my yard. If we continues to do this he may kill an animal, get killed himself, or perhaps even attack a person! So out of love for my dog I disciplined him.
This idea of discipline motivated by love also speaks to the goal of the motivation. The goal of my discipline is to create remorse for his mistake (leaving the yard). Over the three days on the short leash I’m fairly certain if Vincy could speak, he’d say “sorry” many many times! So after the remorse comes the restoration of freedom.
I find myself in the story of Vincy quite often. After leaving the confines of my father’s plan I am eventually brought home wounded, and bleeding. The Father in love disciplines me, and shows His ways are best. Thankfully He doesn’t leave me in suffering, and through repentance brings joyful restoration.
There are many who have wandered from the Father and find themselves covered in blood. May we find them, bring them home, and after a time of remorse, restore them.
Because that’s just what the father does for us