Sunday, February 05, 2006

Is God Punishing Me?

Note: If you doubt your security in the Kingdom of God, please refer to my post The Gospel of Jesus Christ for assurance.

I'm in the process of putting together another post called "Is God Punishing me." I'm going to deviate a little from my normal mode by posting some thoughts as I go, while I write. I do this because this is a very difficult and touchy topic, and in line with the tenets of my profession, I want to "do no harm" first and foremost, so I'll be going slowly and carefully.

Given that, I invite you to post your thoughts or suggestions on the topic, and I'll consider and reflect on them as I write. My basic theory is that God doesn't punish those who are His in His Son. Correct? Chastise? Yes. But punish? No.

The problem I have is that God is the same now as He was in the Old Testament, and the English translation of the OT Hebrew uses the word "punish" repeatedly referring to the Hebrews - God's very people. But what I'm trying to discern is if the intent of this punishment was the same as we interpret the word "punish" today, or if God had something different in mind for His people. I think He did.

At this point, I want to post some definitions. I'm going to be using these definitions as I study the bible to determine where each of them applies as God dealt with the Isrealites, how He dealt with the first century folks, and how He's dealing with us now.

This is a huge topic, and I will not do it justice here. My intent is to give people who feel like they are being "punished" for their sins something to chew on that might lighten their load, give them more hope that God is looking out for them, and that in reality, "there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1). If I'm talking to you and you're truly a believer, I believe that you're not being "punished" in the current definition of the word, but that God - as always - has your best interest in mind. He's with you and loves you in your time of tribulation. That's the case I will be trying to build.

My sources are: Webster's New World Dictionary (1991), and Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary (1996).

Punish: 1. to cause to undergo pain, loss, or suffering for a crime or wrongdoing; 2. to impose a penalty on a wrongdoer for an offense; 3. to treat harshly or injuriously (punishing rays of sun). Implies the infliction of some penalty on a wrongdoer and generally connotes retribution rather than correction (to punish a murderer by hanging).

Discipline suggests punishment that is intended to control or to establish habits of self-control.

Correct suggests punishment for the purpose of overcoming faults.

Chastise implies usually corporal punishment and connotes both retribution and correction.

Castigate now implies punishment by severe public criticism or sensure.

Chasten implies the infliction of tribulation in order to make obedient, meek, etc. and is used especially in a theological sense.

(The above are from Webster's)

Vine's breaks it down by the Greek word that is translated in the New Testament as "Punish" or "Punishment."

Kolazo (Strong's 2849)- primarily denotes "to curtail, prune, dock"; then, "to check, restrain, punish";

Timoreo - (5097) - Primarily, "to help," then, "to avenge" (from time "value, honor," and ouros, "a guardian"), i.e., "to help" by redressing injuries.

Ekdikesis (1557) - "punishment", "vengeance".

Epitimia (2009) -Originally it signified the enjoyment of the rights and privileges of citizenship; then it became used of the estimate fixed by a judge on the infringement of such rights, and hence, in general, an "penalty."

Kolasis (2851) - "punishment" describing a process, not merely the effect; this kind of fear is expelled by perfect love; where God's love is being perfected in us, it gives no room for the fear of meeting with His reprobation; the "punishment" referred to here is the immediate consequence of the sense of sin, not a holy awe but a slavish fear, the negation of the enjoyment of love.

Dike (1349) "justice," or "the execution of a sentence," is translated "punishment" in Jude 7.

Timoria (5098) - primarily "help", denotes "vengeance, punishment."

I don't fully understand each of these definitions yet. I've just put them here directly from the sources to begin the process of formulating my (and hopefully,your) thoughts.

This is the definition I found in the Zodhiates "Complete Word Study Dictionary - Old Testament". It's the Hebrew word translated as "punish" more than any other Hebrew word.

Paqad (6485) - A verb meaning to attend, to visit, and to search out. The word refers to someone (usually God) paying attentioin to persons, either to do them good (Gen. 50:24, 25; ex. 3:16; 1 Sam. 2:21; Jer. 23:2); or to bring punishment or harm (Ex. 20:5; Isa. 10:12; Jer.23:2). The word also means, usually in a causative form, to appoint over or to commit to, that is, to cause people to attend to something placed under their care (Gen.39:4, 5; Josh. 10:18; Isa.62:6). The passive causative form means to deposit, that is, to cause something to be attended to (Lev. 6:4[5:23]). The word also means to number or to be numbered, which is an activity requireing attention. This meaning occurs over ninety times in the book of Numbers. The word can also mean (usually in a passive form) lacking or missing, as if a quantity was numbered less than an original amount (Judg. 21:3; 1 Sam. 20:18; 1 Kgs. 20:39).

I grew up believing that the opposite of the word love is hate. Over the last many years, I've come to learn that that's not true. The opposite of love is disinterest. It says "I don't care enough about you to give you the time and energy it would take to hate you. You're not worth the effort." That's the complete and utter lack of love. That's the worst it can get.

Read that definition again. The word "punish" only shows up once in the definition, and that's only one of two options when God is paying attention to someone. The rest of it has a very positive connotation.

I'm not done yet with my research, but what that definition shows me is, If you're feeling "punished," then God is really paying attention to you. When He "punished" the Isrealites, He was right there, attending to them, visiting them, searching them out. Even when He was exacting "punishment" on them, He was loving them in a most profound way.

Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the sons of Ammon. They afflicted and crushed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they afflicted all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in Gilead in the land of the Amorites. The sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed.

Then the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, "We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals." The LORD said to the sons of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer deliver you. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress." The sons of Israel said to the LORD, "We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please deliver us this day." So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD; and He could bear the misery of Israel no longer (italics mine). Judges 10:6-16

God was mad at Israel. They'd sinned and sinned and sinned, wontonly, purposely, and God's anger "burned against them" He delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for 18 years. But note that it was only after that 18 years that the Israelites cried out to the LORD. It says "Then...". "Then" they cried out. After the 18 years! Then they turned back to Him and put away their false gods - but only after the 18 years in captivity. And He could bear their misery no longer.

Wow. I can feel His pain at watching His children suffer - even though they deserved it and they asked for it! He was hurting! For 18 years watching them suffer, He was hurting too! Waiting for them to cry out to Him! Like the prodigal father (Luke 15), though, He didn't deliver them from their poor decisions. He just suffered - tough love - as He waited and watched them, waiting for them to understand that they had done this to themselves. Then He allowed them to feel the consequences of their decision as they fought their way out of the mess they'd created.

But don't you think for a second that He wasn't there with them, "attending" to them, the whole way. Once He felt like they'd learned their lesson...

The LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. Judges 11:21

The interesting thing about all of this is that although God was hurting for their pain, and He had decided to turn it all around, the Isrealites still had to deal with being lilberated. They still had the consequences of their sin to deal with. Although God had responded to their cries, He didn't miraculously deliver them. They had to work at it.

Why? God knows that idol-worship is the worst thing we can do to ourselves, and He needs us to understand that when we do it, there will be consequences, and He is going to allow us - as any loving parent would - to experience those consequences to help us learn how bad our idols are for us. They will destroy us, and that's what He really wants us delivered from.

So what idols do we have today? We're not talking little wood and plastic statues sitting in the corner now. We're talking modern day idols. Things like money, power, popularity, substances, our work, our religiosity, our spouses...

...our own children. That's right - our children can become an idol we dedicate our lives to. Be very careful that God is your God, and that you don't make your children your gods.

Jesus said that we are to hate our mother and father and brothers and sisters and even ourselves if we are to be His disciples (Luke 14:26). Does He really mean we are to actually "hate" all of these people? Of course not. He's making this a contrast to the love we should feel toward Him. As compared to our love for Him, we are to hate everyone and everything else on the face of the planet. Anything short of that is idol-worship. God must be your one-and-only God.

Sin destroys. Idol-worship destroys. The enemy, who wants you to believe that it's all about your own personal happiness, will tempt you with all manner of idols in this lifetime. But God knows that our idols will crush us and make us lose sight of Him. And when that happens, we're lost. Like Peter, who was walking on water miraculously, when he turned and looked back at the winds and the boat, sank. He took his eyes off of Jesus and put them back on the world.

One of the most dramatic illustrations in the bible of the effect the enemy can have on us is when Jesus allowed "Legion" to enter the pigs. No sooner had they departed the man and entered the pigs, the pigs went plummeting down the hill to their deaths. "Choked" the bible calls it in the Greek. Why did Jesus allow this? Because He needed to illustrate in a profound and graphic way the effect the devil can have on us. We feel sorry for the pigs. Nobody forgets that they died horrible deaths. What they often don't see, however, is that when we allow ourselves to be influenced by the devil, we are the pigs!

God will allow us to live through the consequences of our poor decisions and idol-worship to heighten our awareness, and boost our motivation to steer clear of idols, even if He is suffering with us, even if He is no longer angry at us. A strong and loving parent will do that.

Punishment, as the world sees it, is for the satisfaction of the punisher, not the redemption of the offender. Do you believe that's God's heart? I don't. Not on your life.

More as I study more... Please leave comments.

25 Comments:

At February 05, 2006 9:03 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Living Faith- My sincere apologies. I inadvertently deleted your post. Here it is again:

Wow, I needed these words. I have struggled, basically as far back as I can remember, with is God punishing me! Even though I know that he is not, it is truly hard to believe. When I sin, I ask for forgiveness and repent but sometimes I think that God will punish me for doing the same sin over and over and over. But Gods word says his plans for me is to prosper me and Not to harm me. So I figured, for myself, that as a resault of a abusive earthly father I view God as my heavenly father who will punish me.

I am thankful that you touched on this subject. By no means am I a theology student. I just am sharing how I struggle with the same thing. My hope is that somehow God will bless you in turn because I know you have blessed me, so thanks!

Living Faith's profile here

 
At February 06, 2006 7:05 PM, Blogger Standing_Firm said...

It would have been nice to stumble upon this blog a couple of months ago. All in His time though and I am glad I am here now. Thanks for your blog. I am sure I will be a frequent visitor.

 
At February 07, 2006 6:27 AM, Blogger Sue said...

I'd like to thank both of you for visiting and leaving comments. Your encouragement and support mean a great deal to me. I value your thoughts, and I appreciate your love for the Word and for the Lord. Thanks, Sue

 
At February 07, 2006 6:28 PM, Blogger Let Grace Rain Down said...

No problemo sister in Christ. My hope and prayer is that you will post again with more inspiring wisdom. I always enjoy how God has uniquely blessed each one of us. And you are totally blessed!

 
At February 08, 2006 5:37 PM, Blogger Standing_Firm said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At February 08, 2006 8:03 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Dear Standing Firm,

First of all, do something for me. Re-read Luke 15 - the Prodigal son story. There are several aspects of your story - particularly your reaction to the church abuse - that you'll find there. First of all, you're absolutely right. The Bible has several incidents where people asked God for something He didn't want for them, but because they wanted it so badly, He gave it to them. The Prodigal son story is a perfect illustration of that. But what happened when he repented and returned? Note these things:

1) The father saw him from far away. Why was that? Because he was LOOKING for him to return! He wouldn't go after him because he loved his son enough to let him learn what he needed to learn. But he never stopped looking.

2) Second, he RAN to him! In those days, it was extremely undignified for a Jewish man to run. But he didn't care. He was so excited, he ran anyway.

3) He immediately wrapped his returning son in a robe and all the fineries and gave a feast in his name.

That's what you experienced when you returned! God was watching for you, and when you turned, He RAN to meet you!! What a great picture, and what a great God! Welcome back into the real "church," the church that is Jesus' bride.

Now second, let me offer a thought. Unfortunately, the church - the bride of Jesus - is made up of people. People are flawed, sinful, deceitfully wicked. They often make bad decisions. Even those who are the "elders and pinnacles" of the church. They're just people with deceitfully wicked hearts, sinners, falling short like the rest of us. I'm horrified that you were the unhappy victim of their failures, and I'd like to personally apologize to you for their conduct. We're all family, and if my daughter offended you that way, I'd feel led to apologize on her behalf. On behalf of them, even thought they don't know, I'm deeply sorry, and please forgive my church family for offending and hurting you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Now having said that, forgiveness is not forgetting, and forgiving doesn't mean you have to associate with those whom you've forgiven. I'm not going to go into it here, but please take a minute and read my thoughts on forgiveness.

But what about reconciliation? Jesus said "be reconciled to your brother" in Matthew 5:24. He also said "so far as is up to you, be at peace with all men."

Jesus wants us to reconcile. No question. But even David left the palace when Saul came after him with a sword. He never lost his love or respect for Saul as his 'father' or as God's anointed, but he couldn't stay.

My thinking is this: Think about approaching them and confronting them. When the Bible says "be reconciled to your brother," the inference is that the offense could have gone either way. Whether you’re the offended or the offender, if you're the one hurting, you need to go to your brother. Matthew 18 says the same thing. Think about that.

If they ask for your forgiveness, by all means give it. If they ask you to come back to the church, consider it, but remember that David left where it was not safe to be. You need to think about whether or not it is safe for you. There are plenty of churches, some more spiritually functional than others, and you need to pray about what God wants for you.

Finally, if you have friends in the church, ask them their opinion. God can work through our brothers and sisters, and often communicates with us through them. The sources of God's communication with us are 1) Prayer, 2) Scripture, 3) Our God-given authorities (husband, church leaders we trust, etc.) and 4) Other Christians. I've even had God speak to me through non-believers, and I know others who have also.

One final thing to close. I am so sorry about the loss of the child. God loves all of us and I personally believe that children whose lives are cut short have a special place in his heart and his Kingdom. You have many losses to grieve. Please take the time to do that. Read a good Christian book on grief. You'll be glad you did.

My prayers are with you. I hope this was helpful. Please e-mail me directly at sue@opnhrt.com if you'd like.

 
At February 08, 2006 8:23 PM, Blogger Standing_Firm said...

You were very helpful! It is difficult sometimes for me to trust what I feel. Thank you for apologizing I know it came from your heart.

I have forgiven it is the forgetting that is my trouble. I lay down the hurt and try not to pick it up again, sometimes I am more sucessful than other times. When I am not I try to examine what is going on that day that is causing me to ruminate more.

I re-read the story in Luke of the prodigal son. It is what God spoke to me in my heart. I know He is pleased and I know the angels rejoiced when i turned back to Him.

My friends in the church have decided to "trust the church leadership" even though they know what happened was an awful thing so I am dusting off my feet. I will continue to pray that truth prevails, no one else is hurt by a possible wolf in sheeps clothing, and to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We live in tough times for even the strongest among us, my prayers are for the weaker ones who have trouble testing reality.

Thank you for your ministry.

Your Sister in Christ

 
At February 08, 2006 8:58 PM, Blogger Standing_Firm said...

i have printed out that prayer and I am going to keep it by my side and pray it if and when I am tempted to pick up this burden again. Thank you

 
At February 08, 2006 9:31 PM, Blogger Let Grace Rain Down said...

Wow, if I may I would like to comment. While reading your story, standing_firm, God was confirming all that sue mentioned. As well I would like to add that, for me personally, forgiveness can come easy. But forgetting is the hard part like you had mentioned. But God remines me that he totally forgets what I have done to him, so should I not do that for others? Of coarse, but man is it hard. Then one day, as I was struggling with someone in my church God gave me the eyes that he saw that person in. He showed me how much he loved them and it was overwhelming and scary. But amazing. And he will show you the same if you allow him to. Because we are all brothers and sisters, called by God to love one another. And family fight more than non-family members.

I want you to know that I am not judging or trying to pass my own opion of onto you. I want to share that I am where you are right now, but I am not letting go because God has called me to where I am. It can be hard at times, but Gods love for my family keeps me going. I know one day there will be reconciliation!

I want to bless you and surround you with love that passes all understanding. I pray that peace in this and other circumstances will overwhelm you and your family.

Blessings Your sister In Christ

 
At February 08, 2006 11:52 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Forgetting is indeed the hard part. Forgiveness is a decision. Forgetting is a process of erasing something that's in our memory.

I heard a sermon on that once. He said "Forgetting means that when the thought comes into your head, you purpose to push it out again. But more importantly, you don't talk about it again. When you continually push the thoughts out of your head, and especially when you refuse to talk about it, eventually, the thoughts will come less and less, and you'll have essentially 'forgotten.'

God is God, and we're not. Although we're commanded to purpose to be like Him, we're never going to get there, so don't beat yourself up for not being able to forget like He would. However...

Forgiveness means wiping the slate clean. Talking about it says the slate isn't totally, absolutely clean. As you find yourself thinking about it and having feelings about it, pray that God will take any remaining negativity away, even the subtle stuff that stays locked up in the nooks and crannies of our minds.

When you feel the thought come into your head, pray pray pray. Focus on Jesus with all you're worth. "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." (Romans 8:6) Take the thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5)

Another thing I do is memorize large sections of Scripture. When thoughts come into your head you don't like, immediately try to recite the scripture you've memorized. I'm not talking a verse or two. I'm talking 14 verses. Memorize John 1:1-14, and then when a rogue thought pops into your head, start "In the begining...". Or choose your favorize Psalm and memorize the entire thing. I memorized all of Psalm 40, and when I need to focus, I start "I waited patiently for the Lord..." and by the time I've recited the whole thing, I'm calm, the memory is gone, and I have peace.

Focusing on reciting accurately will distract you and focus you back on the Spirit. And every time you successfully supplant the thought with a pray and scripture, you've erased a layer from the top.

Jesus didn't say "Blessed are those who are righteous." He said "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." Hunger and thirst for Jesus to repace the memory, and He will.

There is life and peace there.

 
At February 09, 2006 6:37 PM, Blogger Standing_Firm said...

Sue, I deleted the previous post so that it is not stubled upon inadvertently. I do not wish to do damage to others. I thank you again for your help and your prayers.

 
At February 10, 2006 4:44 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Standing Firm,
I trust your judgement. I'm just glad it was there long enough for us to exchange some thoughts and hopefully provide a little support.
God Bless, Sue

 
At February 27, 2006 8:08 PM, Blogger Sonya C. Triggs said...

I used to really take it personally when I felt God was personally 'punishing' me. I too had read through all those Old Testament stories, and actually found myself frightened at how our God was a God of Retribution and Justice. It was a total turnaround from the warm and fuzzy image I'd always had of God - kind of like 'He knows my heart' kind of thing without much accountability. I now believe that God doesn't 'punish' me so much as chastise me - and it says that He chastises those He loves. He corrects me in the way I should go out of love, not necessarily anger. You 'punish' your children when they disobey your rules, but only because you want them to be safe. I hope - and pray - that God continues to love me this way.

 
At August 08, 2007 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so many times I here people say that he punishes you to make you go the way he wants. what is that!
Just like Jobe... is that any consolation. When you lose every thing ,even your health, then your Home, car, children, dignity as a human. Not over the years but in months. When people turn their back,and you begging with needs.when youre trying your best to serve, but every time you think something will ease may the pain gets worse. when you beg for his voice, his peace anything to know he cares and you get nothing;except someone you thought loved you,telling you God told them you need to be more humble. When you have been stripped of ever essance that says youre a woman not beast, when you feel that you are trash that needs tossed. when you take baths in creeks. when you live homeless.
when you use to have a job, a home, children , laughter, friends sometimes ease.when you cant die no matter what you try. when your not allowed to feel angry,or disappointed. dont you wonder what he really needs from someone like this.... he doesnt need anything thats the point,but why do we breath.
when people tell you well if you pleased God it wouldnt happen but you see in their life atleast as much,mistakes

 
At November 20, 2007 1:53 PM, Blogger Tina said...

To anonymous,

That is exactly how I feel.. and it's been that way for years.. childhood abuse victim and scapegoat, depression leading to failure, ADD-ness, rape, pregnancy, homelessness, abusive marriage and rape again, homelessness, kicked out of "home" after "home" for no good reason, poor hygiene? no - NO HYGIENE, filth, destruction, sin, liars, betrayers everywhere around me, with God being "a bear lying in wait" (Lamentations 3) And right now I'm being kicked out again, my strength is so sapped, I can barely pack, my water will be turned off tomorrow, my needs being manipulated by my psychopathic mother that everyone believes is so sweet and "loves" me, only playing into her goals, don't know where we'll go, and much, much more - This has been my hellish life for over 8 years, not counting my childhood hell days... "When will anyone show me any good?" "I will openly declare my complaint!" as Job said. I once had faith, now, after all these years, it is just dwindling away.. is that what God wants? And He showed me clearly that He punished me, sorry is some can't believe that this can be true. This does not mean I'm not His child, nor does it mean I'm condemned to hell.. it means that He hates idolatry and He will JUDGE. He used oppression to punish the Isrealites, and He's used oppression to punish me. Those who, in their own willful sin, participated in the oppression of the Israelites will face their punishment too. Likewise, those who participated in oppressing me, (God using their sin) will face their punished. He still avenged the Israelites, and He will avenge me too. And knowing all this, my faith that He will ever show me any good is dwindling, and bitterness has become my most faithful companion. Most people have no clue what this level of suffering and destruction and loss, etc, is like, yet they can't seem to shut up their mouths with worthless advice, like Job's friends, when they ought not dare to speak on it. May God have mercy, how will we praise You if we go down to the pit?

 
At March 12, 2009 3:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello i have just read what you have written thought provoking to say the least , my life is in pieces right now and everyday feels like punishment, every thing i undertake right now just goes wrong , and i just cant accept that the hand of a loving father is upon me , i have been a christian now for 5 years and to be honest the worst 5 years of my life i am totally confused

 
At March 12, 2009 6:51 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Thank you for your comments. There are two things you need to remember about your new life as a Christian. The first one is: God has a plan for your life. The second one is: So does Satan. God has your soul, and there's nothing Satan can do about that, and he's angry. However, Satan can ruin your witness so you don't bring others with you. I don't know anything about your life other than what you've just said here, but I do know this: We have a good God, but bad things happen because we live in a terrible, fallen, evil world. Bad things happen to God's people just like they do everyone else, and you will find "bad" people living a good life. The Bible talks about that, and helps us see those people, and ourselves, through God's eyes. Check out Psalm 73. People will sell you Christianity as the solution to all of your problems and you'll be happy. That's Satan's lie to keep us confused and weak. Christ (not Christianity!) is the solution to all of your problems, but it doesn't mean you'll always be happy. Joy comes from a relationship with Christ, and happiness comes with circumstances. Joy is eternal, happiness is circumstantial and fleeting. Grab hold of joy, and let happiness take a back seat. Thoughts?

 
At June 11, 2009 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God has a way of teaching people good things through unusual methods. I am still trying to learn. This has been the toughest times for me. I think anyone else will have destructed if they had gone through what I am living through. But I still believe at the end, this is a way for God to tell me this is what I need to go through to get to where I want to be.

 
At October 29, 2009 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jesus said that we are to hate our mother and father and brothers and sisters and even ourselves if we are to be His disciples (Luke 14:26). Does He really mean we are to actually "hate" all of these people? Of course not. He's making this a contrast to the love we should feel toward Him. As compared to our love for Him, we are to hate everyone and everything else on the face of the planet. Anything short of that is idol-worship. God must be your one-and-only God."

One thing to keep in mind is that if you love someone, you observe their commandments. So if you love God, you will observe his Commandments (All ten) - 1 John 5:3. In that light, with love defined as the keeping of God's Commandments, to hate your mother, father, brother, sister, etc, means to listen to God rather than men - Acts 5:29, and observe His Commandments, Statutes, and Judgements.

 
At November 25, 2009 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My confession and amy punishment(if it is)
I promised God that I would do my homework everyday once I got home after school. Yesterday I was tired and I'd bought a new book which I couldn't put down and neglected my homework. Today I think God punished me for that as I had physical education and I was running a 100m sprint and I ran twice. When I got to the end, I slid and scraped my knee and parts of my shin. Just now my mother applied a spray to hit and it was like the fire of Hell. I have mixed feelings now as I feel somewhat angry at myself and at God which I know is wrong and I know it's the devil tempting me and I do nt know what to do. I feel lost. Please advise

 
At November 25, 2009 8:32 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Hi Anonymous,

I can tell you with 100% certainty that God isn't punishing you. He simply doesn't do that. What I can't tell you is whether or not this is God's discipline or Satan's temptation. If it's God's discipline, then rejoice, for God only disciplines those He loves. A father only disciplines his own children, and only because He loves them and wants them to grow. Scripture says that we are not to draw away from the Lord's discipline for it is for our good. On the other hand, if it's Satan's temptation, then you can teach him not to do that again by loving and glorifying God through it. Satan hates it when God is glorified, so if you want to drive Satan away, praise and thank God for loving you in spite of your disobedience, because He surely does. Confess it, repent (which means turn away from it), and thank God for the grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love which are already yours. Make the enemy wild with anger by loving and glorifying God through this, regardless of it's source. Now, having said all of that, it is also possible that it was just an accident, and nobody caused it. We live in a fallen world where accidents do happen, and they don't mean anything except that maybe we weren't careful enough, or maybe it simply couldn't be avoided. God knows that we make promises we mean to keep but then 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Ask Peter about that. James said, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have it's perfect result, so you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." The word 'perfect' here means accomplishing that for which you were created.' It doesn't mean flawless. Nobody is flawless. John told us that we can't be, and if we try to claim we are, we make God out to be a liar. God knows who you are, and He loves you with a love that caused Him to die for you. God isn't punishing you. He doesn't do that. He loves you too much.

 
At November 25, 2009 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much Sue

 
At November 25, 2009 9:50 AM, Blogger Sue said...

You are most welcome, my friend.

 
At October 14, 2010 11:12 PM, Blogger anonymousch said...

If you say god doesn't punish, what's left of the bible after you ripped out half the pages!!!!

The bible is dripping off the table full of examples of god punishing people, even his own people.

Crimony, what a STUPID and false comment.

Don't hang your soul on that one. You might end up in hell just for believing that crap.

The person that's spouting that garbage is going there for sure. Along with me.

I'll be there with a pitchfork chasing you for telling that lie! Heh, heh! LIAR!!!!

 
At February 04, 2013 7:18 PM, Blogger Jennifer Powell said...

Thank you for writing this. It was insightful and I can't wait to dig into it more. I needed the whole "punishment" idea spun to me in different light. Again, thanks.

 

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