I’ll never forget the day I got myself into big trouble when I was caught playing with matches in the church parking lot. I knew I wasn’t supposed to, but hey it’s not like I was trying to burn the place down. I was just curious how these little paper things worked! However, my curiosity as a child was rarely celebrated. There were rules and playing with matches was a big “NO NO!” On the way home my parents discussed my punishment. I knew I was heading for a spanking. I had been spanked before. It was not going to kill me, or even really seriously hurt me. Just a good sting that lasted for a couple minutes to reconnect the obedience nerve that went from my butt straight into my brain. Nevertheless, I was dreadfully dreading it. I thought about ways to get out of it. I could hide? I could put on as many pairs of pants I could find in my dresser to minimize the sting. I could beg my dad to forgive me and have mercy on my poor sinner’s soul. I chose to beg.
When we got home I walked as slow as humanly possible from the car into the house. My dad told me to wait in the bedroom. The apprehension is worse than the actual event. When he finally came in to spank me I had worked up a good plea. I begged my dad to punish me any other way besides spanking. I promised I would do the dishes and never play with matches again. I would be a good girl from this point on. I would! I knew it. Why didn’t he?
He bent me over his knee and I tightened up every muscle in my body preparing for the impact. I heard three loud cracks of the paint stick hitting flesh. I did not feel a thing! It was a miracle! Then I realized what my dad had done. He put his hand between me and the paddle and took the punishment on his hand, sparing me the pain. His hand was all red. It looked like it hurt. I looked up to my dad for an explanation. He said, “There. Now you know what Jesus did for you”. I cried and said I was sorry. He cried and hugged me and told me he loved me. I was only six years old. I’ve never forgotten that moment.
I wish I could say that he’s always been a hero. A virtuous man who always uses opportunities to show love and grace. He’s a flawed and human man. He has done a lot of good with his life and missed the mark hundreds of times as well. I choose to show him mercy and compassion. Like he showed me that day long ago. And like Jesus shows us every day when our curiosity gets in the way of our better judgment and we play with fire just for the heck of it.
– Serah Morningstar. HashtagWV #117. September 2019.