Oct 262012
 

Classic theology teaches that God is impassible… as the Westminster Confession says, He is “without body, parts, or passions, immutable”.

This has led many to teach that God is emotionless and wholly separate from most of what makes us human.

I dispute this.

Jesus incarnated as a man and lived as a man…laughing, crying, and even using whips to express His anger.

We’re supposed to think that after the Ascension He forgot all that foolishness and lives in some state of holy indifference and passivity.

Nonsense.

Having said that, that main reason I know that I know that God has emotions is because He is both a Father and a Son.

One of the techniques we are trying to help my son is a disciplinary method where in which if he disobeys certain rules he loses all the things that bring him joy for three days.

No electronics, no Ninjago, no playmates, no phone, no Youtube.

A three day discipline…which to a ten year old equals about 120 years.

When the sentence is imposed for disobedience committed there comes wailing such as has not been heard since Lazurus tomb.

My boy chafes and fights and struggles under the discipline, then pleads for injunctive relief.

He doesn’t mention any deep affection he may hold for me in these seasons of pain.

It is a difficult and harsh experience for him…and it’s supposed to be.

The discipline is rehabilitative, not retributive, but those fine points of explaining pain don’t carry much meaning to him.

What he doesn’t understand is that I suffer with him.

I desperately want him to learn to live in such a way that this sort of discipline is unnecessary.

I want him to enjoy life to the fullest and to enjoy all the things and people that are part of his life.

I am most happy when he is most happy and I suffer every moment that he does.

I wish he understood that underneath the discipline there is hidden a well of inexhaustible love that knows that this pain has a purpose and will end as soon as possible.

He doesn’t.

He also doesn’t understand that I am both a father and a son as well…and I’m struggling to learn the same things about my Father…or maybe just believe what I’ve learned.

Make your own application…

  30 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. good words today – grateful to see what Michael has written

    one of the saddest things i hear parents say is, “i just want you to be happy” – it is sad because it seemed to have led to losing sight of the disciplines necessary for that happiness – excluding the trips to the orthodontist, the idea that a parent had at times the responsibility to make their child go thru unhappiness to achieve happiness was interpreted to advocate parental megalomania … almost a satanic spin on parenting – or so it has seemed to me

    “I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.” … i can agree with that, but i’m no theologian 🙂

    God’s immutable character has sustained and comforted me through both my sin and His disciplines and i’ve never, ever seen Him as without a heart for His creation – the whole of His incarnation from His birth to His ascension refutes that idea – the difference between ‘a rock’ and ‘stone cold’ … (theology run amuck again) IMHO

  2. What Josh said!

    Just this week I had a cringeworthy moment as I watched in horror a post one my adult daughters had intended as dark humor spiral into a virtual mess. My place was to silently suffer with her as she worked her spin and damage control while learning the hard way to better craft her comedic commentaries.

    Take heart, the pain you feel is blessed evidence that you’re alive and paying attention. It’s called “compassion” and it’s a good hurt

  3. Beautiful Michael…very timely for me. Have enjoyed your book as well.

  4. Thank you for the timely words. My son is going through a time of discipline right now.

  5. Well said Michael.

    Handing out discipline is hard, and should never become easy. I hate disciplining my kids. But after repeated warnings and instructions, it must be handed out, or else the threat is meaningless. But always we are ready to sit and discuss the whys of discipline and that there is love, not by obediance, but that love is surpassing their acts of disobediance. It really is about steering them into the right path.

    Yes, this applies to our spiritual life as well, at times.

  6. How do you discipline into love? Isn’t that what we want, loving children?

    I have 223.4 years of childraising experience.

    I cannot remember the last time I “disciplined” one.

    Using “discipline” to compensate for not growing up yourself is a crime.

  7. Michael,
    Good article – thanks.

    Here is my application – I am glad that my 3 kids are raised and have been out of the house for the past 15 yrs. raising their kids. I hope I did a good job.

    Now my role as grandfather is to spoil the grandkids and to act their age and not mine – this my friend is a great deal more fun! 😉

  8. PP Vet, if you don’t grow up yourself there is no way on this earth that one can “discipline” another – that’s a lot of years, BTW …
    you were probably so expert at guidance that you didn’t even realize that you were disciplining (discipline is not another word for violence) … or else rebellion is not in some gene pools – dunno bout that possibility

  9. Thanks For the Post!

  10. @3

    well said……

    and another reason why there is something to be said about monikers in the cyber shark tank of blogs (and at times facebook). Sometimes the damage control isn’t the issue as much as the time it takes to do so… better to let the moniker take it on the chin and go enjoy your real world rather than to save cyberface…..

    peace…………..

  11. important questions and thoughtful insights. Well-said. Ignore those who would interfere with your efforts or second-guess your methods.

  12. So very excellent.

  13. Beautiful!
    I continue to pray for you and your son……and for all the children represented here.

  14. I had such a moment with God last night. I picked up my boy at midnight from his school after an away football game. He is the only almost 16 year old who doesn’t have a phone and who hasn’t taken any steps toward getting his drivers license. No, this is not because I’m the meanest mom ever, its because he is a 4.0 student who brought home a 1.8 last year. This year he has worked so hard and has carried a 4.0 while succeeding at home, in his church, in school and on the field. It has been so painful withholding good things from him. Deeply painful. When i picked him up his phone was turned back on and his spot in drivers ed was secured. Both of us had tears. He said it moved him so much that i not only mourned when i needed to discipline him, but that i also rejoiced when i could unleash GOOD things into his life. In that moment i was made aware and i will never be the same. I fell asleep fully aware that i was safe in His hands… Even when they are potters hands.

  15. nomans, i love it when i check in here before calling it a day and read a post like your #16

    thank you for blessing my night, (it was a good day at my house, too – thank You, Lord)

  16. Em. I love you. Rest sweet.

  17. Thank you Michael. After reading Noman’s comment all I can say is amen.

  18. Hi everyone

    its been so very long, not sure this post will even go through,
    its been a very very difficult long road and season
    not even sure what to say,
    but just wanted to stop in and read through a bit
    and to say Hi

  19. good to hear from you sis……………..

  20. Normans…… Wonderful!!!

    Sis!!! So good to hear from you again .

  21. Good to see you, Sis!
    I told you we’d leave the light on….

  22. What’s the shortest verse in the Bible?

  23. jtk’s point is that “Jesus wept” tells us of His heart?

  24. sister christian is back, now if dusty returns my time enjoying this blog will have come full circle … i still have the picture in my mind of the house that, i believe, BrianD “built” with Erunner’s porch and dog’s playing poker and dusty and friends cooking up something good in the kitchen 🙂

  25. Wow! What a post! What a thread! What a blessing!

  26. Michael, I really like the way you use this example to reflect the difference between punishment and discipline.

    When I began my undergraduate studies, the first semester I took a communication class to learn how to speak publivly and to write an essay. I was new in the Lord and a single parent as well to my 2 year old son. Not having much experience with raising children, I also was unsure of myself exactly how to go about getting my child to behave and to raise him to be a man one day. So, as with most things that I didn’t know, I set forth to find everything out that I could on the subject and also using it to complete my class assignment. In those days, people were very big on sparing the rod and spoil the child in a more punitive style, but this was also in conflict with the more recent laws against corporal punishment. In reading the Bible and knowing how much Jesus loves his children, this is what I came up with: Punishment = Condemnation and Discipline = Correction. What more, in understanding the role of a shepherd, I found out that the shepherds that viewed their sheep as possessions, they used their staff to beat the sheep when unhappy with them or to keep them from jumping over the fence to get out of their pens. But the good shepherds look down on this practice. They saw the sheep as something that need to be nurture, fed, and guided. They believe to use their staff like the bad shepherd did affected the quality of the wool and the well-being of their entire flock.

    Have I ever paddle my son—only as direct measure to get his immediate attention for a dangersous situation. But never, ever out of my own anger.

  27. Sorry, forgot to say: The good shepherds used their staff to prod the sheep to stay on the path, and not to wander off into places that would place them at risk. If they did hop over the fence, they simply went after them and brought them back home. Unlike the bad shepherds who took their legs and broke them with their staff.

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