“But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand.” (Isaiah 32:8)
“He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.” (Proverbs 19:26)
Discouragement is a real temptation when one of our children disobeys or does something that is plainly stupid. Training a child in the way he should go is not a point function, so we forgive, pick up the pieces, exhort, and move on in hope. Similarly when we are connected through Christ’s body to new believers with broken pasts, we will be confronted with discouragement when they fall back into patterns of sinful behavior.
Our expectations grow with the age of our children. Those who come to the cross later in life often carry with them spiritual immaturity entangled with deeply entrenched habits. Shocked by this outward versus inward incongruity, we are often disappointed, quick to judge, and apt to apply guilt and shame as bludgeons to correct their besetting sin.
Our God is shrewd in His overwhelming generosity — something this passage in Isaiah calls us to emulate. The foundation of God’s generosity is connected to us, as we are Christ’s flesh and bones. (Ephesians 5:30). We are God’s children (1 John 3:1), we are brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11).
On this foundation of identity, the Father of Lights calls us to grow up in Christ, to put off childish behavior, and to renew our minds on His definition of truth and His unswerving promises. This does not ignore sin. Rather, it puts it in the context of relationship where discipline can be swift and restored fellowship complete. May God grant us hearts unified in generosity such that we are constantly devising ways to pour love out to our brothers and sisters in need.