A good parent trains their child in instruction and discipline motivated by love. The instruction in righteousness (right heart, right character, right thinking, right doing) is first given in gentleness (ie, Don’t lie, tell me the truth.) The first time the child tells a little white lie, there is likely a reminder of the “ good moral rule”. The more the child ignores the voice of conscience and lies, the worse the habit gets.
Love now requires discipline. If the behavior is not changed, the eventual consequences to that child’s life can be enormous and devastating! Discipline cannot be just threats. There must be consistent follow through of consequences. A child can sear his conscience to the voice of his/her parent by ignoring warnings. A person can also sear their conscience to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Once a child is of age, they can choose to leave and face the consequences of the world themselves. How dangerous if they leave with a seared conscience or in deception.
This is what happens in the parable of the prodigal son. He leaves the house of his father to go his own way. The gentlemanly father lets him go….all the while hoping he will come back. The son ignores the training, character, and spirit of his father and turns to the ways of the world. He reaps the consequences. BUT, when the son “comes to his senses”, he remembers and wakens up his conscience. He does have the choice to go back home and live under the roof of his father’s house and serve/live by following his ways and character. The Holy Spirit is available to help us change when we have a humble, gentle, meek spirit of repentance and an intention to follow the right way of thinking, living, and doing (righteousness).
Like parents, good spiritual leaders also prefer to disciple in gentleness. They are to be good shepherds following the example of the Good Shepherd. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit prefer to help and train in gentleness. But, if love demands a corrected response, the “rod” is the other option. Love is so passionate that it will not give up easily or lightly….it endures and perseveres and fights to keep and save the one loved.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:21, “What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?”
I prefer learning with meekness in gentleness. But sometimes my flesh puts up a big fight. Sometimes I do not know the truth. Sometimes I am rebellious and not obedient. How about you?
We need to practice control of “self” and flesh in humbleness and obedience to Him and His Word. If we really have faith in Him and trust Him that He loves us and is leading us the right way, then we must follow Him and obey. Then, we are walking in His righteousness. And then we will be satisfied with good life.