“It wasn’t my fault, Dad. We got in a fight and that kid called me a liar. . .and then he called my mother a bad name...”
Bill’s father closed the bedroom door and began to take off his belt.
Bill had a bad habit. He used bad words and sometimes would even swear. Bill’s mother had talked to him about it, but this morning when the fight developed, Bill began to swear, and his father called him in the house.
“Bill, we’ve told you over and over that it is a sin to take God’s Name in vain. You broke one of the Ten Commandments. Do you know that commandment?”
“Yes,” replied Bill, “Mother made me memorize it: ‘Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.’’’ Exodus 20:7.
“Do you know what that means, ‘will not hold guiltless?’’’
“I guess it means that God will punish those who swear,” answered Bill.
“Do you know that Someone was already punished for the swearing you did today?” asked Dad.
“Jesus was, son. When the Son of God hung on the Cross of Calvary, He was dying there because you swore this morning... When the nails were driven into His hands, it was because you swore... When God left Him all alone in the darkness of Calvary, it was because of your swearing. He was punished because you swore.”
“Then if Jesus was punished because I swore, why will God punish me too”
“God won’t punish you,” replied Bill’s father, “if you are willing to admit that you are a sinner, repent and accept Jesus’ punishment as your punishment. If you trust Him as your Saviour, the One who took your place when the swearing was paid for; if you’ll ask Jesus to live in your heart, then you won’t be punished by God.”
“But why should Jesus do that for me?” asked Bill.
“Because He loved you, son. But Bill, your mother and I said you must be punished if you swore again.”
“W... What are you going to do, Dad?”
“Here, take my belt, Bill. Don’t look so surprised. I want you to whip me!”
Bill’s father took off his shirt and kneeled by the bed.
“But your back is bare,” stammered Bill. “The belt would hurt. You didn’t do anything wrong, Dad. I can’t hit you.”
“You must be punished for swearing, Bill. And as you hit me I want you to realize that you hurt Jesus more than you’re hurtipg me. Raise the belt!”
“I - I can’t, Dad. Please, I’ll never swear again. Please!”
“You must be punished, son. And I’m going to bear the punishment, something like Jesus bore your punishment on the Cross. Go ahead, Bill!”
The belt came down with a crack and a red welt appeared.
“Again!” Again ..he belt came down.
“Again!” Another red mark appeared on his back.
“I can’t hurt you anymore, Dad. I see what you’ve been trying to show me, how Jesus suffered for me on the Cross, even for my swearing. I didn’t know He loved me so. But I love Him now and will repent and receive Him as my Saviour. I love you, too, Dad.”