When I was a child, my mother firmly believed in spanking and never had any problems in bringing about a swift judgment. It was never unfounded though, because I deserved every spanking I ever got. I could be a very stubborn, hard-headed and just plain, downright mean child.
I knew what would bring about her wrath though. It was never a mystery, and she didn’t just wake up in the morning and decide that she was going to change the script and decide that she was going to be more lenient or less lenient. Her rules never changed, and that was something I could count on.
It didn’t matter if I had lied to her, got into something I wasn’t suppose to or set my little sister up to be the fall-girl in some master plan of mine, I knew it was going to be the switch or her very own hand that would, “get me in the end” so to speak.
If she found out!
That was my weakest mental facility as a youngster, say, still in elementary school. I somehow believed that I could do these things I knew that I wasn’t suppose to do and get away with them, if I did them away from the watchful eye of my mother. As a grown woman with my own children, I now know why she seemed to be everywhere and could come out of nowhere at – for me – the absolute worst possible time.
Like the time when I was about 8 or 9 years old and I thought I’d give cussing a try. I was in the living room one Saturday morning and Mom and Dad were still sleeping soundly, or so I thought. My little sister and I always got up early to watch cartoons, with a bowl of cereal, and they would sleep in late because they could and deserved to do so. Thinking I was fairly safe, being a good way from their bedroom door, I gave some of those grownup words a spin and, BAM!, there she was! It was, effectually, the last time I used those words for quite some time.
Over the years, I learned that she only said what she meant, and meant what she said. Strangely enough, I have never to this day needed any kind of therapy, I’ve never been impaired in my mental facilities because of it and I do not hate her for giving me a good whipping when I needed it.
I love my Mother, and I love the fact that she wasn’t afraid to lay that chalk line out for me, because I needed it. She always likened raising a child to planting a sapling tree. She said that if you plant that sapling and leave it to its own devices, it will bend and sway with every wind and weather situation and would grow gnarled and bent. She went on to say that once that tree was grown, there would be no straightening it, because that “growing up crooked” has scarred it for life.
But, she said, if you take that same tree and plant it, putting braces around it and tying it up, forcing it to grow straight and tall, that it would. And again, once it became a mature tree, it would still be straight, tall, strong and able to withstand the harshest weather. And she would liken that to the verse in the Bible that says, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.
She said that to NOT train a child in what is right and wrong is a horrible injustice on the child who will grow up without respect, self-control and an idea of what to do verses what not to do. The Bible clearly tells us that, as parents, we have a job to do with the children we are given. And it is certainly not to let them do as they wish all the time.
Having grown up that way myself, I can say that I feared my Mother’s righteous judgment. It scared me to think of what she would do if I disobeyed her. It wasn’t the kind of fear that you have for a stranger or someone who hurts you without reason. I think you, even those of you who weren’t strictly disciplined as children, can agree, there are varying degrees of fear and there are different ways in which fear can be represented in your mind by certain people.
The fear I had of my Mother was the fear that if I did something wrong, I would get a spanking. I knew that I would, and I knew what she considered wrong. And, as I said, I’m thankful that she raised me in such a way because I feel like it shaped me as a human being. That’s not to say that I didn’t get into other troubles. I did. All the while knowing what my Mother would think of it, what she did think of it, and I still attempted to do things without her knowledge.
But that fear was always there!
I have said all that to preface what I’m about to say about the many times the Bible tells us to “fear the Lord”. I have heard people say things like, why would we want to serve a God that we are scared of? What kind of God must He be to want us to live in fear all the time? How can He talk about loving us and turn right around and say that we should fear Him?
Well, think about what I’ve just said about my fearing my Mother. She didn’t instill that fear in me in order to make me succumb to her every whim because it made her feel more powerful. She didn’t let me know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she would tear my rear end up if I did the things I knew I shouldn’t do just to be mean, hateful or harsh.
She did it because she loved me. She did it because she knew that, if she let me do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, that I would grow up disrespectful and rude, with a feeling of entitlement that I had no right to. She did it because she wanted me to become more than that, and everything that I could be. She had high hopes for the little one that was trying to raise right.
And so it is with God, our Heavenly Father, Who loved us enough that Jesus came to walk in flesh, among His very creation, and died a sinless death on a cross for the sins of all of us! He knew that His own Law dictated that sin has a price that must be paid. It is a righteous and real price, and we have been warned of the consequences. That same fear that kept us from doing what we knew we shouldn’t as children, knowing the righteous judgment of a parent, is the same kind of fear that is spoke of, time and again in Scripture….
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The Bible is full of MANY more examples and explanations to this very thing that I am talking about. The fear of the Lord. He made His Law and, in the Old Testament, we saw that we as humans would never be able to stand up to it on our own. God saw the same thing and sent Jesus as our “once and for all” sacrifice, that meant we wouldn’t have to live perfect, because we are incapable of it. We will fail, fall and ultimately allow our flesh to destroy us from the inside out.
I’m thankful to have that fear, of knowing wrong from right, at least as much as He has revealed to me thus far in my life. It is my constant prayer, day and night, that if there is anything I am not in His line of thinking with, that He would reveal it to me clearly so that I can see the error, fix it, and continue on in HIS way and HIS will for my life.
I don’t want to be on the wrong side of His wrath because I know what it can do, and I know what the end result is. He has already told us in His Word, and we MUST fear Him in such a way that we turn from our sinfulness and accept the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross, and what it meant for us.
Jesus even told us plainly, Himself:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.