Read Ecclesiastes 8
Focus on verse 11
There is only one thing I can think of that is more unfortunate than a spoiled child. That one thing is an adult that continues to act like a spoiled child. One of the most common reactions I have heard in response to contact with spoiled childlike behavior is that this is what happens when a child is not disciplined. I believe that a more correct assessment would be that this is what happens when a child is not loved. Some might argue that the spoiled child is one who has had too much love and hence not enough discipline, however, I would suggest that this reflects a misunderstanding of both terms. Love and discipline are not opposite but inseparable.
To attempt to love without discipline is impossible, and to discipline without love is nothing short of abusive. If I truly love my children I will attempt to lovingly teach them to discipline themselves. The only way to teach them to discipline themselves is to genuinely love them. People that grow to adulthood without an understanding of love and discipline tend to behave like spoiled children. When they are younger it gets them in trouble…as adults it typically lands them in prison if they are fortunate enough to survive that long.
In today’s reading Solomon observes, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.” (v. 11)
Discipline and justice are not interchangeable terms, but they are very closely related in that both must be exercised in the context of love in order to be effective. Justice is also often treated as an antonym to love rather than an attribute of it just as discipline is.
I believe that a big part of the reason that we see an increase in criminal activity in our society is because justice is failing. The reason justice is failing is because we are attempting to apply justice outside of the context of love. The reason love has been removed from the equation is because we are attempting to remove God from the equation, and God IS love, so if we exclude God – we exclude love. If we exclude love it becomes impossible to execute justice and we create and environment where, as Solomon puts it, “the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil”. When justice fails, social order fails soon thereafter.
The nation of America has for some time now been teetering on the brink of imploding. Time alone will confirm whether God will see fit to show us His mercy by bringing about some miracle of revival that might delay the impending disaster for another generation or two. If He should happen to choose not to, hope is not lost for those who love and follow Him. While it may bring a time of tribulation upon us, it will also be a time of opportunity to testify to and demonstrate the love and justice of God to us all, even those who rebel and reject Him.