I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. (Hos. 11:4)

“FAIRNESS IS NOT ALWAYS EQUAL” is a statement sometimes made in school and other educational settings. The idea is that what is fair, what is right, may not always be the same for every student. In order to be fair and give every student an equal opportunity, those with special needs due to physical or mental challenges may need something different from those who do not have the same unique situations.

Hosea knew a little something about love. He had been called to marry and love a woman who, most assuredly, was considered unlovable and unworthy as a wife. So, Hosea is most definitely qualified to comment on God’s great and perfect love for us.

Before there were teacher education programs, God knew just how to train, challenge, and care for each of His children. God recognizes, then and now, what’s needed in every situation. If we need to experience consequences and trials for our benefit, He will allow that. If we need a gentle hand for reassurance, our Father provides that, too.

When we are asked to discipline or train people in our lives—be it our own children, our students, our employees, or our brothers and sisters in Christ—do we remember God’s example of love? Do we exercise a thoughtful, rather than a one-size-fits-all, approach? If we choose to be like God or His prophet Hosea, we do.

In discipline and discipleship, love others in a way that meets their needs and circumstances.

Hally Franz is a former high school guidance counselor turned stay-at-home mom. She enjoys being a 4-H leader, church secretary, book club member, and traveler.