There is a lot of talk in today’s reading about wickedness. To whom was Solomon referring? Perhaps to violent people, to those guilty of sin against God or people, or even to the one who is perverted trying to keep other people from God. I’m not going to focus on that, but I did want to mention it because it did strike me. There are many wicked people we need to be wary of. If we ourselves are wicked, these verses will surely call us out.
What did speak to me loudly was verse 1, “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” This probably hit a little close to home because of how I despise being wrong and being caught or called out when I have made a mistake. I need to be easier on myself. We are all going to make mistakes. It’s a great way to learn. We should welcome correction when it helps us see the error of our ways.
As a child, I feared discipline. I was so focused on pleasing my parents and those around me, I was devastated when I fell short and made a mistake. I took every correction or act of discipline personally as a blow to my ego and self-confidence. Looking back, that was pretty silly, really, or “stupid” as Solomon would say.
That word, “stupid” brings up a whole different set of memories for me. For years, my first husband would call me stupid for pretty much everything I did or said. After you hear it enough times, you begin to believe it’s true. It has taken me years to overcome the belief that I am stupid.
I always wrestled with the incongruency of the situation. How could I be stupid and still have gotten nearly a 4.0 grade point in school? Yet, words are powerful. Solomon tells us we need to love discipline, if we want to learn, that is. I’m a firm believer that we should be learning something new every day of our life. There are so many life lessons available if we are open to the discipline of learning.
It’s helpful to remember that discipline does not have to be the belts, paddles, or loud screaming I have come to associate with the word. Discipline is an act of obedience. It’s an act of intense focus on something you want to accomplish. The discipline of fasting, is a Biblical example. Not eating is difficult, so you have to discipline yourself for that.
What things do you have to discipline yourself to do? For me, it’s exercising and following doctor’s orders. I can get so caught up in my own little world, my own patterns, my own schedule, that fitting in something new can be hard. Lest I be “stupid,” it’s time to accept correction and discipline myself.
Some people tell me they have a hard time disciplining themselves for quiet time with God and prayer. That used to be a struggle for me, too. That’s why I have made it such an important part in my life. I do it no matter what. Life is busy, but I can’t bring myself to look Jesus in the eyes and say, “I was too busy for you.” Let that sink in.
Take time today to think about what is important to you. What areas of your life need some correction? Are you ready to love discipline?
Let’s pray … Lord, forgive me for all the years I was far from you. Forgive me for all the years I have believed I was stupid and not worthy of your love. I want to make up for all the lost time. I want others to never know the agony of feeling lost or alone. Thank you for surrounding me with people who encourage me, correct me, and move me in the right direction. Use me to help others, correcting them in love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.