Bobby was feeling down. He had just been cut from the school basketball team. To make matters worse, his dad had found out that he had stolen some items from a store.

When his father talked to Bobby, he let his son explain what had happened at school and at the store. The father tenderly told him that God can use disappointments early in life, like being cut from the team, to prepare us for bigger ones that are sure to come.

Then he firmly told his son that he would not tolerate shoplifting. Bobby quickly promised he would never steal again. Even though his dad felt sorry for him, he made Bobby face the consequences of his actions by returning the stolen goods to the store manager and confessing what he had done.

God is gentle with His children too—tender but never compromising the truth. He told the discouraged prophet Jeremiah that learning to face small problems would help him tackle the big ones later (Jer. 12:5). And though God made His rebellious people face the consequences of their sin, He showed His tenderness when He called them “the dearly beloved of My soul” (v.7).

Whether we are facing hardships or the results of our own sin, God treats us with truth and tenderness.