Paddles or Apples?

imagesThe story goes that Martin Luther’s father hung a paddle up in a prominent place in their home. He did it to remind all of his children of his strict discipline, that the rod was always ready to come down on them for their disobedience.

When Luther grew up and had a family of his own, he didn’t follow his dad’s example. Instead, he put an apple on a shelf. He wanted to remind his own children that he was ready to reward them, anxious to congratulate them on their obedience.

Now I’m not saying that God is in the business of handing out apples when we do good stuff for Him. But I do think that we have the tendency to think about God as one sitting at the edge of heaven, waiting to punish us with strict swiftness and ruthless vengance. That’s not the God of the Bible.

After spending the first part of the chapter talking about the disobedience of God’s people, Isaiah writes these words in Isaiah 30:18:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

Because of Christ, we are people of the apple; not people of the paddle.

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1 Comment

  • Becky Dietz says:

    Interesting. When my kids were in elementary school, they had a disciplinary program for the whole school where they had to put a mark by their name–in front of the class–when they were disobedient, disrepectful, etc. I tried to get it changed to where they were rewarded for good behavior instead. I was never successful. (Or I suggested that parents have the same program for teachers–to put marks on their names in the teacher’s lounge. That didn’t fly either.) I think it’s interesting how much we tend to have a heavy hand (myself included) and never balance it with a giving heart. I wish I could have do-overs with my kids…

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