Spitting into the Wind
For children, there is something mysterious and amazing about moms. Most of the time my mom was busy cleaning, cooking, gardening, and dressing, listening to, and bandaging up kids. She was one busy, capable woman all wrapped up in a general wonderment of momness.
Curious, as most kids are, of how mom ever could have been a child, I loved to hear about when she was young like me. One day while she was canning peaches and I’d been put to work removing the scalded skins, I begged her to tell me a story about when she was a kid.
“Hmm,” she paused, wire basket of dripping peaches midair, “I slapped a boy so hard once I was afraid I’d knocked his glass eye out.”
My mouth dropped open, and I stared at her with new appreciation. Now here was a story.
“Why’d you slap him?” I asked.
The peaches had tumbled into the sink and were waiting for me to pick away their skins, but I couldn’t take my eyes off mom – peaceful, calm mom who had slapped a boy. What on earth had made her mad enough to do that?
“Oh, we were walking to school on a windy day,” she said. “He walked in front of me, coughed up something gross, turned his head and spit it out so the wind would carry it back and hit me in the face.”
“Uuh,” my breath sucked in rapidly while my eyes widened in horror. “Did it hit you, mom?”
“Yes, it did,” she said. “And it made me so angry that I marched straight up to him and slapped him as hard as I could.”
A swelling of pride filled my heart. This was my mom – a girl of action and the one who’d had the courage to hit a mean boy.
“So what happened?” I asked. “Did you knock his eye out?”
“No, but I was afraid I had. He grabbed his face and whimpered. For an awful moment, I thought his eye had popped out into his hand.”
This was an interesting visual for a six year old to digest. I processed that scene for a minute before asking, “Why did he have a glass eye? What happened to his real eye?”
Mom couldn’t remember, and that unknown tidbit of information has given me hours of imagination entertainment throughout the years.
I had lots more questions: Did his eye look natural? Was it really made of glass? Would it have shattered on the ground if it had fallen out? Did he ever spit on you again?
Mom couldn’t answer most of my questions. “It was a long time ago,” she said. But she did remember one thing. He never spit on her again. In fact, she never ever saw him spit on anything again.
Jay, that was his name, learned a valuable lesson back then. Actions do have consequences.
The concept of consequences relating directly to our behavior is not a new concept. Perhaps the most famous verse on this subject is found in Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” The Old Testament is full of the same warning, both in example and in verse. Isaiah, 64:6-7 has a particularly relevant warning. “…our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away…for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.”
Does it feel like people’s bad behavior is excused or ignored these days? Perhaps it does, but evil cannot be overlooked forever. God is holy and therefore cannot disregard sinful activities indefinitely. Scripture tell us, “For the wages of sin is death…”
“Oh how extreme,” many say. “I don’t want to know a God who punishes with everlasting fire.”
Fortunately, He is also a loving and gracious God. After all of mankind’s hate, anger, war, and sin of every kind, He has offered us the most wonderful gift. Although we have earned death by our actions, “the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
I’m pretty sure Jay could have begged my mom for mercy, and she would have still slapped him. I know I would have. Fortunately for us, God will extend His forgiveness to all who truly repent.