So let me tell you what is hard. Humility.
I am a fairly self-important person most of the time. Therefore, I do not like being told that I am wrong. I do not like it when those around me imply that I have acted offensively. I do not like reproof and I do not like discipline.
It generally takes me about 3.5 seconds to move from the point of admonishment to the point of justification. Or, if not justification, at least pointing out [in my own mind or out loud] the faults of the person admonishing me and how they are, at best, as offensive as my faults. OR, in my more brilliant moments, both. It’s a truly glorious accomplishment when I can bring to light the faults of the person admonishing me AND how they led to my fault. Redirection and justification. Well played, Audra, well played.
A good friend of mine, however, pointed out this Scripture to me yesterday. And I’ve been tossing it over and over in my mind ever since.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. (6) For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (7) It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (8) If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (9) Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? (10) For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. (11) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (12) Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, (13) and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. [Heb 12:5-13]
It should be a beautiful and desirable thing to be disciplined, at least where I’m at. Because that discipline only comes from love and God’s desire for me to be every bit of the person He created me to be. And some days, His less gentle nudgings are best heard from the mouths of those around us. Sometimes those closest to us, which feels harder than pretty much anything else.
I think that the overarching theme of what the Lord is trying to teach me lately is that things are not as they seem. That the grand design of His world is that things truly are backwards. The first shall be last and all that. Brokenness is beautiful. Humility is glorifying. Discipline is a sign of love. The backward lessons go on and on.
It is a safe thing for me to be immersed in relationships that mirror that of Christ to the church. But being safe and being comfortable aren’t always equivalent. Safety always involves truth, and let’s just face it. Truth isn’t always comfortable.
Thank you, Jesus, for putting people in my life who love me enough to speak truth to me, even when it hurts. Please make my heart open to them, and willing to learn from them. Deepen my respect for them, and may I love them as extravagantly and honesty as they have loved me.