The other week I discovered that my son spent over $1100 (in three weeks) by signing on to my Xbox account and buying games. My son is 7 years old and very technology inclined. While some would say he did it by accident. I know better than that. My son went to great lengths to cover up his lie. After playing the games, he deleted them so I would not see them. The two games that were still on the console he told me were free trial versions of the game when in fact there were full versions of the game that he paid for. To make a long story short, after I found out about his extensive spending he needed to be punished.
I grounded him from the Xbox, computer, television, and I spanked him AND just so he knew how much $1100 was, I told him that he would not be going to Universal Studios for his birthday, explaining to him that the $1100 could have paid for his entire trip! Even though I had to punish my son, I felt really bad for him. No “normal” parent wants to punish or hurt their child, but I had to so that he knows NEVER to steal and/or lie to me again.
This put me into the mind about the way that God punishes us. When we do something that God does not want us to do because it makes us feel better or gets us what we want at the time and we have no regard for the consequences or the effect it has on other people, we deserve to be punished. Although we see no harm in doing it, God does. Had I not found out my son spend $1100 it could have turn into $2000 or even more! I had to put a stop to it by issuing a punishment that he would never forget. There are days where I want to give in on his punishment. But I can’t because there is a lesson to be learned. Just yesterday, he tried to give me all of the money from his piggy bank, so that he can play the Xbox. And although it is a noble gesture I must stand firm in my punishment toward him and let him know that not everything is an easy fix. He cannot just throw the money from his piggy bank at me and think all is well.
The love that I have for my son is unconditional. No matter what he did or does, I still love him. Just as I am sure God loves us when He is punishing us. But He issues out the punishment to keep us for going deeper into our sin and getting ourselves into more trouble. Perhaps we get fired for lying on the job, audited for cheating on our taxes, or loose a or boyfriend for cheating on them even though we thought they would never find out. Even though these seemed like small things that would not hurt anyone, if we are not punished for our wrong actions then we will do it again AND on a grander scale potentially ruining our own future. So although we despite the punishment that is handed down, it is something that we need. And even though we feel that God does not love us when He is punishing us, He does. But He knows that He must do it for our own sake, to keep us honest and so that we understand not to satisfy our flesh with the temporary rewards of the world. God sets rules in place for a reason. Those reasons are to keep the world from being a chaotic place and to form us into honest hardworking people, as oppose to getting what we want the malicious way.
As for my son if he ever decides to steal again then there is going to be hell to pay. And I make sure that he knows it. If we decide to keep on the path on our own stupidity, despite the fact that God keeps handing out punishment, we should expect the punishment to get worse and worse. Because God is trying to tell us something. He is trying to tell us to stop our foolishness and think about doing something a different way, the honest way. The funny thing is, as I was spanking my son; he told me later he was praying for God to save him from his punishment. I had to let him know, God did not save him from that punishment because it was a punishment well deserved. God is not some genie that we can go to when we know we are wrong, and pray for Him to fix the chaos we have brought on ourselves. Sometimes God does have mercy on us and does not allow our punishment to be that harsh or save us from jail when we know that we deserve to be in jail. But even in those times, we take those acts of mercy as a blessing that we did not get the punishment we deserved, not as an excuse to keep doing wrong.