As a child I received my fair share of spankings. My parents never doled them out in anger and rarely did they act in the moment. And they never truly hurt – the mere thought of the punishment was what caused me to cry – getting caught was never a happy moment. While spanking was a good punishment for a time, the act ended when I started laughing as my mom was spanking me and she discovered I had placed magazines in my pants to ease the blows. My punishments shifted to having my Gameboy taken away, being sent to my room, or denied having friends over to play.
These acts were certainly good for my attitude and were well-deserved, but honestly they were fairly rare for me as I was a pretty decent kid. When I did mess up, I would end up having a talk with either one of my parents and then the hammer would fall in judgement.
In my final years of high school, my parents began to use the most detrimental punishment of all: “We’re really disappointed in the way you acted.” There was no consequence, no physical punishment, no spanking – just that sentence. And it truthfully hurt me more than any other punishment I had experienced. If I messed up or did something wrong, they’d tell me that they were disappointed by my actions and then leave me alone. And my heart would break.
I believe my parents – either when they were spanking me, grounding me, or speaking truths into my life – were not disappointed in me, but disappointed by my actions. They knew that I knew better, yet I chose to not be better. I knew not to swear or yell or lash out in anger, but I did. I knew that there were certain people I shouldn’t hang out with, but I did. I knew not to smoke, drink or chew (or go with girls that do), but I did. My short-term vision couldn’t see the long-term danger of these people, actions, and things.
When it comes to my spiritual life, I think God is oftentimes disappointed in my actions. God knows I can do better. God knows I can be better. God knows that I know better. But sometimes I choose to not do what I should. Nothing I do surprises God, but when I make those choices they bring disappointment with them. Like my parents, God isn’t disappointed with me, but is disappointed with my choices.
Life is challenging, difficult, and filled with all kinds of ways for us to slip up and miss the mark. God wants us to be good, decent, loving, kind, generous, and forgiving but knows we’ll screw up on occasion. More often than not, we will do the things we know we shouldn’t. But we should always remember that God loves us and wants only the best for us.
May God give us the ability to learn from our mistakes, and never wallow in disappointment, but get back up and try to be better. May we generously and lovingly forgive when others disappoint us. May we know that God loves us and is never disappointed in us, but in our poor choices and actions.
much love. sheth.