How to Respond to God’s Discipline

By Susie Hawkins

Do not reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For The Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights,Proverbs 3:11-12.

As our Father, God reserves the right to correct and instruct us when we disobey him. In Hebrews 12:10-11, the author elaborates on this, saying that this discipline will result in a “peaceful harvest of right living.” God’s correction is proof of his love and he holds us accountable for our actions, especially when we know better.

Several years ago when we were still in the pastorate, I experienced God’s discipline in a very unexpected way. My husband and I were going to our church Leadership Dinner one evening, where a popular pastor from across the country would be speaking. Late that afternoon I was busy doing “mom” things, preparing to be gone that evening, and didn’t plan my time well. I suddenly realized I had only a few minutes to dress before leaving. As I hurriedly rummaged through the closet, my husband held out the shirt he wanted to wear and casually asked me to sew on a button that was missing. I was already rushing, and my reaction was, “Are you kidding? Just wear another shirt!

He sensed my anger (yes, he is a perceptive one) and quickly agreed to do so. But for some reason, that wasn’t enough for me. I snatched the shirt, grabbed a needle and thread and madly sewed the tiny and ridiculously insignificant button on his shirt so that the pastor could be well-dressed for the Leadership Dinner. I knew I was acting awful, but I didn’t care. Our frustrations escalated as we drove to church, and by the time we arrived we were barely speaking.   

Every pastor and wife know this game – greet people cheerfully while seething with irritation toward each other inside! 

But the dinner was lovely and we looked forward to the speaker, who had just arrived. His message was on unselfish service, the test of authentic leadership. I became uncomfortable when attitude came up, and he pressed the point, saying “Let’s say that OS needs Susie to sew a button on his shirt. Now just imagine that Susie gets angry and complains about this.” Of course everyone laughed and looked at me, as if such a sweet little wife would do such a thing. The speaker thought he was funny and everyone was laughing (except for me).The speaker had no idea about our disagreement, and I had to sit there pretending to be amused. If that wasn’t bad enough, my husband was enjoying this whole episode way too much.

I didn’t hear much else that night, because I was repenting and confessing my sin before things got worse. On the way home I meekly apologized to my husband who thought the whole episode was hilarious.

I remember this incident like it was yesterday. I knew then and know now that it was God’s rebuke, because I knew better. I wasn’t born again yesterday. My little fit was nothing but petulant selfishness. And, I believe there are times God won’t let us get away with something when we know better.

In the 1970s there was a popular commercial on television for men’s aftershave. The man would rub the aftershave on his hands, then slap it loudly on his face, declaring to the camera, “Thanks! I needed that!” I’m convinced that should be a believers’ reaction to Gods discipline. While its not pleasant at the moment, its a reminder of his love for us. We need His discipline and eventually will thank him for it.

Published September 20, 2013

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Susie Hawkins

Susie lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband OS Hawkins. She is the author of From One Ministry Wife to Another: Honest Conversations on Connections in Ministry. She has 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren, keeping her life full of craziness and joy.