I was pretty young when I learned the lesson of how difficult it is to cover up sin. My older brother, a cousin and I chose as live targets our neighbor’s chickens. We used our 22 caliber rifle to pick them off at close range. After we had killed close to a dozen of those poor creatures, we were faced with how we would hide our crime. We chose the same method as Moses, that of burying them in the ground. At first it looked as if our scheme had worked. However, to our dismay the neighbor’s dogs unearthed a great meal for themselves and at the same time uncovered the whole dastardly deed. Our crime began to unravel at breakneck speed.
I’ll never forget the day I looked up and saw the troubled neighbor coming to our house. I overheard his conversation at the door with my mother, “Mrs. Brooks, my dogs have uncovered nearly a dozen chickens that have been shot and buried. Would your boys have any idea what happened?” She answered, “I don’t know, but I will find out.” She first asked my brother who didn’t know a thing. Then she honed in on me, and I was a push over and confessed the whole crime, even though I had been threatened that if I told, I too would suffer the same fate as the chickens—however, the load of concealing this sin any longer was too hard to bear.
My mother proceeded to give me and my brother her best and hardest spanking, but the worst part was, “You stay here in your room until your father comes home, and he will really give you something to remember, and he did.” My father drove a truck, so I could hear the truck when it came home. I can still hear the gears shifting, the motor being turned off, my mother informing my father, the door knob turning and staring at my father. My father believed in corporal punishment, and that day he left a great impression on me as to what I had done. Added to that was the humiliation of going over and apologizing to the neighbor and working to make restitution to pay the man in full for his loss. It certainly seemed like a dumb idea when it was all over. Unquestionably, I would tell anyone never try to bury chickens in the dirt when there are dogs in the vicinity.
My brother did, however, teach me a lesson that day. Later, he said as only he could say “Hey, dummy, don’t you know how to take your medicine?” My brother had a real way with words. He went on to explain that when I tried to run away from my father when he was giving me my spanking, it would hurt more. However, if I could learn as he had to embrace my father, his swing would be shortened and therefore not hurt nearly as much. It was true.
Even though at the time I dreaded the discipline I received from my father, as I got older I came to appreciate what he did for me. The writer of Hebrews says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
Hebrews goes on to say that “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). If we run to God when he disciplines us, we will spare ourselves so much agony. God loves us, and everything he does for us is for his glory, and he wants us to be more like him.