As he walked away and started the story hour, I thought I may have sounded hard or mean. I tried to put myself back to being a parent of an 18 month old. What would I have done? I would have reprimanded while touching my daughter. The touching would be the comfort part.
The truth of the matter is the kids should not have been running in the first place. As a parent, we need to be speaking these truths to our kids. It's not an either or response. It can be both. I can comfort while speaking the truth in love.
When I screw up, God, my heavenly Father disciplines me. (See Hebrews 12) Most of us have felt the chastening of God. Yet we also know that it is because He loves us that he chastens us. And He loves us while chastening us.
I want to encourage parents to speak the truth in love to their kids. And I want to encourage the church to speak the truth to each other. Not with a ball bat in hand, but with love in our hearts. Most people do not speak the truth because they don't want to appear judgemental, they want to be liked, or other reasons. But if we are to be imitators of God, we need to step up and begin to do it anyway.
God, my prayer for the church is that we will speak the truth in love and receive the truth in love. If I am not willing to listen and consider the truth someone is trying to speak to me, if I get angry and defensive, how does that encourage the church to do what it needs to do? Let it begin with me, the speaking and the receiving of the truth in love.