Carolyn was sobbing bitterly, and Nathaniel appeared as though he wished to shrink out of sight. Nathaniel had just played a practical joke on his sister and having not really thought too much about what might happen, it had ended in disaster. Carolyn’s arm stuck out at an unusual angle and Nathaniel was turning pale with fright. That’s how Mum found them.
Immediately a flood of words poured from Nathaniel’s mouth. “I didn’t mean it, Mum, it was an accident. I said sorry to Carolyn and she said that she forgives me!” Mum took in the scene and was horrified. Carolyn was rushed off to the doctor and Nathaniel was told that Dad would deal with him later!
When Dad talked to Nathaniel, he was confronted by the desperate argument first presented to Mum. “You don’t need to punish me, I said sorry and Carolyn said that she forgives me. Everything will be O.K!”
Dad had to explain that everything was NOT O.K! Saying sorry could not take away the consequences of what had been done. Carolyn still suffered, her arm would take time to heal and she would miss out on doing many things. Dad then discussed with Nathaniel the seriousness of what he had done, and they talked about how they could help Carolyn through what was going to be a very difficult time for her. Dad realized that it was important to teach Nathaniel to think of the consequences of his actions. Dad’s aim was to save him from future disaster. He knew the importance of changing Nathaniel’s ideas while still letting him know that he was forgiven. To help Carolyn they agreed that Nathaniel would do Carolyn’s regular jobs around the house until her arm was well again.
God too is a loving Father, who warns us of the terrible things that happen because of sin. In the history of Israel, we see that sin sets in motion certain forces and certain consequences that cannot be avoided. Despite God’s great efforts to bring the people of Judah back to himself, they finally reach the point of no return.
God never punishes because He’s trying to ’get even’. His anger is always just (fair) and is felt when people break his laws and break down the special friendship that He wants to have with them. Although sin has its consequences in our lives too, God continues to forgive us for Jesus sake.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, that you continually guide us back to you. We look forward to the time when the results of sin will be gone, and we can share the joy of glory and peace with you forever. Amen.
Neil P. Schiller