Paying the piper
February 6, 2019
When I was 7, we lived in a church camp lodge. Another family, with a son about my age, also lived there. He, my two-years-older brother and I got into a lot of mischief together. I recall one occasion that began with the three of us throwing gravel from the road into an athletic field across from the lodge. When our parents found out, we were told to get all of the gravel out of the field and back into the road before the field was to be mowed the next day. My brother and I did that, and I can remember saying to the other kid the next time I saw him, "You didn't help us!" right before I lit into him leaving what likely remains as a scar over his right ear.
I also can recall about half-dozen of the spankings I got growing up. There were many more than that, but I got some whoppers, and this occasion led to one of them. Interestingly, I can't remember my parents ever saying, "Yeah, maybe you didn't deserve this one, but there have been lots of times when you didn't get what you deserved." I may not always have gotten what I deserved, but I always deserved what I got. My parents made sure they'd identified the guilty party before they acted, and we never got by with casting stones at other people to avoid punishment.
Anyway, on the occasion of the stone-throwing at the camp, I was laid across my father's lap with a bare behind, and he proceeded to rotate series of slaps from one side to the other, allowing just enough time for the "rested" side to cool from the burn before it received the next onslaught.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 states there's a time for every activity under the sun, including scattering and gathering stones. While it also mentions there's a time to mourn and a time to die, it does not say anything about a time to pay the piper, but there is, so to speak (Hebrews 9:27-28; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; John 5:28-29; Matthew 25:31-46). Appropriately applied spankings or other discipline we receive on Earth, even self-inflicted, can keep us from paying the ultimate price when our life on Earth is over, whether it's our time to die or Jesus returns (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Proverbs 5:21-23; 23:13-14; Hebrews 12:7-11; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).
While the burn from spankings and the sting from other forms of discipline eventually may subside, allowing times of healing and mending, the burn of unforgiven sin is eternal with no respite (Mark 9:43-48; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). But, with forgiveness from God, we can avoid the eternal punishment, although there might be earthly consequences (Exodus 34:6-7;
Jeremiah 31:29-34; Acts 2:38-39; 22:16; 1 John 1:5-9; Romans 4:7-8; Revelation 22:14-15).
Are you living in the light having been baptized for forgiveness and seeking forgiveness whenever you sin? That's the only way to keep from paying the eternal price for your sin.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected]