One of the reporters "embedded" in a U.S. Marine outfit during the invasion of Iraq came upon something which astounded him. He had a radio telephone, which allowed him to make a telephone call from the middle of the battlefield to any phone on earth. He offered two or three marines the chance to have a two minute conversation with anyone they would like. The responses astounded the man:
One marine declined to call his parents; rather, he wanted to call the parents of a buddy who was killed, to assure them that their son died with honor, a credit to the Corps.
Another gave his time over to his company commander, whose wife was momentarily expecting a child.
"Where do they get young men like this?" the reporter asked.
The reporter, like many of us, assumed that because they were young they would be rebellious and selfish. We often make the same mistake; indeed, sometimes you will see the opinion that such rebellion is both normal and good.
The writer of Proverbs (and the United States Marines) know better. If you set out with the idea that teenagers must be rebellious, and that this is good, you are likely to get the rebellion, at least. But it need not be so.
How, you ask? By the Lord's method. The words used in this passage carry at least three meanings:
· Discipline—as in the phrase, "disciplined athlete." One who practices what is right until it is second nature.
· Correction—as in, coaching. One who listens to those whose task is their improvement.
· Instruction—if one is to learn to be wise, one must be instructed.
It is not just the teenager that needs these; we all do. It sometimes is painful to think so, but it is so. When the Lord disciplines you:
· Repent as quickly as possible,
· But do not resent his rebuke; rather, accept it with joy, and
· Rejoice—for this is a sure sign that He loves you.
No one disciplines another family's children. When God disciplines you, it means you are his child.
Lord, teach us not to despise your discipline but to embrace it.