Being raised in a “good Christian home,” my parents were firm believers in “the rod.” As a result, I have gotten more spankings in my lifetime than I could ever count! However, the only spanking that I remember is the one I never got.
I was eight years old, and once again, I had gotten in trouble. In fact, I cannot remember a day that went by where I didn’t get in trouble for one of two things: (1) fighting with my younger brother or (2) sassing my mother.
On this particularly sunny day, I had gotten in trouble for the latter. I don’t remember what exactly I said to make my mom totally lose it with me, but I do remember the shrill sound of her voice as she yelled, “Go to your room, young lady! Just you wait until your father gets home!”
I sat in my room for what felt like hours. I didn’t mean to make my mom so upset. Sometimes I would just get angry and say things that she had to know I didn’t mean. Tears started to stream down my face, and then I heard him… *clomp clomp clomp* The sound of my father’s heavy shoes as he walked down the hallway towards my room. My heart was racing with anxiety and fear. I knew my punishment was literally right around the corner.
I quickly put on the thickest pair of jeans I could find, and I closed my eyes in hopes that it would all just go away. I heard the door creak open, and I opened my eyes to see my father walking in with his burly brown belt in his hands.
He sat down on my bed holding the belt in a loop and snapping it so it would make that loud “pop” sound. To this day, that sound sends shivers down my spine. I turned my eyes to the floor and watched the tears begin to puddle by my feet.
“You know why you’re in here, don’t you?” he asked.
“Yes, sir.” I replied.
“I sassed my mother, sir.”
“And do you know the punishment for sassing your mother?”
I gulped and said, “Yes, sir. A spanking.”
My father was silent for a while, so I dared to lift my gaze from the floor. His tone was stern, but his eyes were kind. He looked at me with such love and said, “Honey, you know that the punishment you deserve for your sin is a spanking. But I think God wants to teach you something different today. I love you, and so today, I will take your punishment.”
He placed the belt in my trembling hands, laid face down on my bed, and pulled his shirt up to expose his bare back. “Hit me,” he said.
“Daddy, I can’t!” I cried.
“Hit me,” he repeated.
I shook my head back and forth. I couldn’t hit my dad. I couldn’t let him take my punishment like that.
My father sat up again, and I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him. At this point, both of us were crying. He took the belt from my hands and laid it aside. He held tightly to both of my tiny hands, saying, “This is what Jesus did for you when He died on the cross. He loves you so much that He took the punishment that you deserved.”
This was the first time in my entire life that I understood the Gospel.
This was the first time in my entire life that I understood grace.
So many people still insist upon punishing their children with “spankings,” but what if we really believed the Gospel?
What if we gave freely of the grace that has been poured out on us?
What if we lived the reality that Jesus took ALL of our punishment on the cross and there is nothing left for us to pay?
A spanking may temporarily change behavior, but that moment of grace with my dad forever changed my life!
- When you were growing up, how did your parents punish you? What was the impact of that punishment?
- When was a time your parents or someone in authority showed you grace?
- How did you feel?
- How did you respond to that grace?
- Imagine a scenario when you would be tempted to react by punishing your child. How could you exemplify the Gospel for them instead?
- What would be the impact of living the Gospel before our children?
Check out Part 2 to see what the Bible says about spanking!