Do Not Lose Heart

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Oh, how we forget. It is a failure common to the human race. We forget the generosity of others when we become habituated to it and begin to take it for granted, or worse, as an etitlement. Sometimes, too, we get discouraged and give up on the struggle to be true, Christian brothers and sisters. It is so hard to live in accord with what we know, in faith, ought to be our way in the world. Though we know that Jesus, in dying for us on the Cross, gave us everything, most importantly, forgiveness and new life; though we know that He did so unconditionally and magnanimously; though we know that Jesus is our Lord and brother, and that He has commanded us to love as he loved, we sometimes get caught up in the temptations of this world and we temporarily forget these things. Because we are weak, because we are still children in the disciplines of the Lord, we sometimes need to be reproved, to hear, and to be challenged by God, in order to re-focus on what God wants of us.

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“Brothers and sisters, you have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: “My [children], do not disdain the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when reproved by him.” (Colossians 1:5)
Like children, too, we sometimes chaffe under the disciplines of others. I know I was this way with my father for many years in my youth. But when I got older, when I grew up, I began to realize the truth behind those disciplines of hard work, and honesty, and keeping your word, and your promises. He was trying to instill in me the disciplines that I would need in order to be a mature, responsible man in this world; toward myself, my family, my work, and most importantly, toward God. He knew that I would need to make those disciplines habits in my life, in order to be counted as a true man, a man of God. My father reproved me constantly. He did so because he loved me. He knew more about life than I did. It was his job as a father to do this. Now, though he has long ago gone to God, I thank him for that tough love he gave to me. He never stopped loving me, even though I tested his last nerve at times. It has been my duty to do so with my children as well. And God has blessed me in many ways. If our own fathers can love us enough to reprove us and to discipline us, how much more can God’s love be good for us?

Let us not lose heart, then, when we are reproved by others who are interested in our well-being. Let us listen carefully and humbly to the reproval of the Holy Spirit that we hear so clearly in the depths of our consciences, or in the powerful words of the scriptures, or in the challenges of the Church to remain true to Jesus’ message to us here on earth. Let us endure our sufferings for His sake, and for the sake of all of our brothers and sisters. In doing so we will know that God is treating us as his true sons and daughters. Take heart in knowing that all of this is God’s infinite expression of His intimate and personal love for us and His desire to have us be with Him forever in heaven.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.