The Belt

This post is a bit different from the ones you are used to seeing from me. It’s not based on any scripture I read today. It is, however, a lesson from God’s Word in action.

I went to the funeral yesterday of a man who lived his life according to the Bible. He was a godly, prayerful, joyful man who demonstrated God’s love in every aspect of his life.

His adult daughter wrote a letter to her dad and asked the pastor to read it at the service. It was a beautiful tribute to her father. In that letter, she shared an experience with her dad that changed her life.

She admitted that, as a teenager, she did things that concerned her parents. She went to places she should not have gone. And it was at one of those places that her father came to get her. He took her home, and sat with her in her bedroom. He said something like this:

“I’m at my wits end. I’ve tried to punish you, ground you, scold you, for the things you are doing. I see the road you’re traveling is heading to disaster and I don’t know what else I can do to stop you from going there. I love you, and you are breaking my heart. Right now what I need you to do is put yourself in my place. I want you to feel what I feel when I have to punish you for your choices.”

At this point, he took off his belt and handed it to her. “You deserve to be punished for disobeying me. So I want you to hit me with this belt. I want to take your punishment, so you know what it does to me every time I have to punish you.”

The daughter said she could not do it. She could not inflict pain on her dad for something she had done. And it was then she gave her life to the Lord.

This young woman saw Jesus in the face of her father.

You know, don’t you, that Jesus did much more for you than offering to be whipped with a belt. He suffered. He died a painful death on the cross. He was rejected by his own Father, so you wouldn’t have to be. Consider that for a minute.

I pray that you will thank Jesus for taking your punishment, by accepting Him as your Savior. I pray that you will think twice before you commit that sin that cost Him so much.

And, parents. I hope you’ll take something from this father’s example. I think it’s parenting at its finest.

I’m praying for you.

__________________

I am adding to this post a few days after I initially published it. I had lunch with this man’s widow yesterday and she shared the rest of the story which I think is really important.

What the daughter did not share in her letter was that on that night when she had this encounter with her dad, he ended up whipping her with his belt. He had offered to take the punishment for her, but just because she refused to allow him to, it didn’t mean the punishment didn’t have to be paid.

Friend, that is is something you need to understand. Your sins and mine WILL be paid for. There will be punishment for every sin we’ve ever committed. Jesus is offering to take that punishment. In fact, he already has. Now it’s up to you to allow him to cover your sins with his blood. Or you can refuse the offer and take the punishment yourself.

Someone is going to get the belt. It’s either going to be Jesus or you. Your choice.

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