Four-year-old Regina snatched the blocks from her little brother’s grasp and pushed him down, unaware that her father was watching from the doorway.
“Give the blocks back and tell your brother you’re sorry.”
Regina threw the blocks toward her brother, crossed her arms in defiance, and began to sniffle.
Again her father spoke. “No, Regina, that won’t work. Pick the blocks up. Hand them to Nathan and tell him you’re sorry.”
“But Daddy,” she wailed plaintively, “I already gave them back.”
Now her father stooped in front of her, making eye content. “Regina, pick up the blocks, hand them to Nathan, and tell him you’re sorry. Say, ‘Yes, Daddy,’ and do what you have been told.”
Throwing her arms around her father’s neck, Regina whimpered, “I love you, Daddy.”
Her father pulled her arms from around his neck and stood her at arm’s length, his big hands holding her shoulders firmly. “Regina, pick up the blocks, hand them to Nathan, and tell him you’re sorry. Say ‘Yes, Daddy,’ and do what you have been told.”
“You’re hurting me!” Regina complained.
“No, I’m making you uncomfortable. If I exert more pressure it will hurt. If you don’t obey I will increase the pressure. Are you ready to say yes to Daddy?”
“But why?” Regina whined.
“Because I’m the Daddy and you are the child.”
“It isn’t fair. I wanted to play with the blocks. I gave ’em back ’cause you tol’ me to. So I obeyed you. Please, Daddy.” Regina gave her father the most pitifully adoring look she could muster.
“Regina, I said to pick up the blocks, hand them to Nathan, and tell him you are sorry. Partial obedience is still disobedience. My hands are on you ready to exert more pressure, but this discussion is over. Are you ready to say, ‘Yes, Daddy’?”
Regina’s head dropped in submission. “Yes, Daddy,” she whispered.
Her shoulders released from the convicting grip, Regina picked up the blocks and handed them to her brother, sobbing, “I’m sorry, Nathan.”
The last syllable had hardly escaped her lips when she felt herself being swooped up by her daddy’s strong hands, swirling freely over his head. Then hugged close against his cheek, she heard him whisper, “Regina, I love you too much to let you be naughty. Even when you don’t understand, you must learn to obey me. Then one day, when you’re all grown up, you’ll understand.”
Deuteronomy 8:5 (NIV)
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
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