Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Spanking That Didn't Hurt

He knew he was busted. His little brother lay sprawled on the floor in shrieks while his big eyes told me everything I wondered. He had tripped him.

"Did you trip your brother?" I demanded. He nodded. "Why?" He shrugged. "Go to the bathroom."

He knew what was coming, and so did I.

But both of us were wrong, it turns out.

Something struck my heart.

Right now is the chance.

"Chance for what?" I asked.


Suddenly, I knew what to do.

He sat on the toilet, shoulders sunk in and his eyes piddling with the floor. I sat in front of him, waiting on what to say. It slowly came, and I tried to plan my every word.

Stop planning. Just do it.

I gave a speech on why we are to be kind to everyone. God told us to love each other, not be mean. He was sorry, and he didn't know why he'd tripped his brother. Just to watch him fall, he supposed.

I had him turn around, my heart racing out of fear. I had never done this before and I was so afraid I would get it wrong.

I placed my hand palm down over his backside. Pop. Pop.

My hand instantly turned red with the impact.

Shocked, he spun around, looking at the spoon. "Why didn't that hurt?" I saw his thought.

"Because I just took the spanking for you. My hand hurts."

"Why'd you do that?" he asked quietly.

"Because I wanted to show you something. You did something wrong, didn't you? And you deserved a spanking, didn't you? There was a spanking, wasn't there? But did you feel it?" He shook his head with confusion and probably a little fear. "I took it instead. Because I wanted to show you what grace looks like."

Now he was sobbing. Thick tears spilled from his quivering eyes. "I don't deserve it."

"I know. Doesn't it feel good?" I smiled. He nodded.

"You know what this is like--who else took punishment for us that we deserve?"

He knew. "Jesus."

"That's right. Jesus did when He went to the cross for our sins. You remember what sin is? When we disobey God?" He nodded again. "I wanted to remind you of that."

"Remember that time I did something bad at school and the helper said I should feel ashamed of myself?" He never forgets anything, this child. I said I remembered. "Well, I wish that hadn't happened."

"Me too. And you know what? It's like it never did because God doesn't hold it against you. You need to remember that people are going to say mean things to you. When they say things like that, you know why they do that?" He didn't. "Because they may not understand this grace we're talking about. They don't know that we don't have to feel ashamed when we do things wrong."

"It really hurt my feelings. I don't want to feel ashamed."

"And you don't have to. But because we understand this grace, God wants us to show others that grace. So we don't get mad at them when they do things that are mean to us. We don't hold it against them. We give the grace to them that God gave to us."

"I like that," he said. We sat, looking at each other for a few minutes then. Him on the toilet seat and me on the floor across from him. Something had changed. His heart or mine. Or both.

"So there's something you need to do."

"Say I'm sorry to Caleb." He knew exactly. And he did it. And not only that, but he did it well. He explained all by himself to his little brother why he was saying sorry and asked if he'd forgive him.

Maybe he is getting this.

And maybe I am, too.

Peace of Christ to you,


  1. Love. God told me to show my child grace this week when she should have been punished. I love Him. I'm reading this to my kids tomorrow.

    1. That is awesome Monette. God's grace blows me away.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm guessing you're talking about the John Community Group? If so, then awesome!