Father of perfect discipline,
Give me a heart that loves mercy more than being right,
that loves grace more than law and compassion more than control.
Help me not to feel guilt when the discipline is right. Help me to discipline rightly.
How many times — knowing you were watching, knowing good and well that I could stand — how many times have I willfully fallen?
Yet how quick I am to condemn the same weakness in another.
I know what it’s like to be powerless, riddled with guilt,
and waiting for judgment to fall.
How gently you restore me!
Remind what a relief that is.
Remind me that love — not justice, not guilt, not domination —
love covers a multitude of wrongs.
Let me not discipline out of my own embarrassment, exhaustion, fear, or haste.
Let me put away the tools of demolition: shame, rage, sarcasm, fear,
and fit me instead with the fruit of your Spirit,
that I may spend it on the little ones
who wonder what you’re like.
May my instruction always create hope and never crush it.
May it work restoration, not alienation;
forgiveness, not condemnation.
For these are what you have worked in me;
how quickly I forget it.
And when I fail — when, not if —
when I rail and scream and kick and flail against you
like the unruly, hot-cheeked child that I am,
pick me up, turn me around,
bend low and speak my name.
Give me courage to meet your gaze,
and show me how it’s done again.
—– —– —–
Featured Image cut from Child Praying at Mother’s Knee by Pierre-Édouard Frère
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