He'd done it.
I could hardly believe that my obedient, sweet-natured son had blatantly disobeyed me, but he had.
And he was old enough to know better.
Because of his age and the nature of the offense, I knew we were at a crossroads. The punishment must be painful or I may lose his heart forever. I had to hurt him. I didn't want to. I love him. I would have preferred to give him a stern scolding and let it go. But I had to hurt him to help him. And because I love him, I did.
But I didn't harm him.
The difference between hurt and harm is as wide as the ocean. But as human beings with limited understanding, we often confuse them. We do hurtful things to our children all the time, because we have their best interests in mind. Taking a two-year-old for injections appears to the uninformed--and to the toddler--that you are harming him. But in order to accomplish the greater good, a loving parent hurts to avoid harm.
God is a loving parent. He allows hurts to come into our lives and often we shake our fist at him. "You're supposed to love me! You're hurting me! Why?" We confuse hurt with harm.
God will never harm his children. Harm inflicts permanent damage.Harm is irreparable. Harm is not in your best interest and is done by those who don't care about you.
But hurt is often allowed to pierce us for our good. Our Father takes us kicking and screaming for our injections and it may even appear to others that he is unkind. But he knows how much hurt to allow before it harms us.
We can turn the hurt into harm all by ourselves. When we react in anger and bitterness to the hurts God allows, we harm ourselves. We can create our own wounds that never heal. When we lash out, turn from him, and embrace evil out of spite, we create our own harm.
Think about what is hurting you today. A situation. A person. A disappointment. It hurts. God promises to comfort and "bind up the brokenhearted." (Psalm 147:3)
But are you in danger of harming yourself because of it? God won't harm you. If you experience permanent harm, it was done by you alone.
Don't let hurts become harm. Choose to trust your Father and endure the hurts. He is doing it for your eternal good.