This post is from a reader named Brooke L. M. Stage. Thank you Brooke!
The worst part was that I was convinced I deserved it. I knew in my heart that I was such a wicked child that I deserved to have pain inflicted upon me, and so even as I cried out in pain with each slap of the belt or the wooden spoon, I felt guilty – guilty for wishing the pain would stop. A precocious child who made a public profession of faith at the age of 4, I firmly believed every word of the Bible verses I was forced to read aloud before and after my punishment sessions, verses like “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). I would try to focus on feeling remorseful, but then another blow would come, and the part of me that was, well, human would think, “Hey! That hurt!” So then I would silently beg God's forgiveness for not accepting my punishment with my whole heart, and all the while the spanking would continue. Is it any wonder that I struggled to understand the concept of grace as taught in the New Testament, when my only experience of sin and redemption was exclusively Old Testament? Is it any wonder that as an adult, I have found it difficult to feel forgiven unless I have first been punished?
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