The Broken Whipping Switch
Reading about children’s memories of discipline by a switch I discovered a story concerning a broken switch that seems to be a great example of how we should perhaps understand mercy and the day of resurrection for all mankind.
But first, in case you’re not aware of what a “switch” is, let me quote a portion of one recollection from Fully Invested Dads a web site by Ron Reardon.
So, just in case you’ve never been in this situation as a child, I hope Ron’s brief essay will give you a glimpse into what a switch is and the role it’s played in thousands of our lives.
Jeff Andrews, one of the podcasters who gets my attention while driving, described briefly that his grandmother once had him go out back in order to bring in a willow branch after he had been caught stealing. He knew exactly what this meant. Going out to get a willow branch meant he was about to get a “whoop-in” and he was scared. And Jeff knew that she didn’t mean a little wimpy stick.
After he sheepishly returned to the living room with the switch he handed it to her and was by this time entirely ready to receive his lashes.
His granny talked with him about respecting others and their possessions and compassionately talked with him about the issue of stealing and particularly his situation.
Then, to his surprise, she took the willow branch and
broke it into several pieces.
To his great surprise - and even greater relief - she told him he could put the pieces in the trash. He hugged her and cried - knowing that he would never steal again. He walked into the kitchen and discarded the broken switch into the trash can.
This is how mercy wins hearts!
There’s only one thing scripture tells us that our creator delights in - and that’s to display His mercy.
“You do not stay angry forever
but delight to display your mercy.”
Perhaps this is why our message is so limited
One of the mysteries that many in our camp - those of us who see God’s relentless love and unconditional grace for all, is this . . .
Why does our Lord keep this insight and message restricted to so few?
Consider this: What if Jeff knew that his grandmother was going to break the switch into pieces and not use it on him?
Do you think his relief would have been so great?
The dynamics of the moment when he realized he was receiving mercy after the full expectation of punishment was more than life-changing - it created a bond that was inexpressible. A union that was irreplaceable!
Contemplate what most in this world think. The idea of some rude awakening and judgment after death - and this dominates the spectrum of thought worldwide. No matter what religious or non-religious ideas are held - most are expecting some form of “judgment”. Most Christians and religious people seem to be expecting some form of punishment, requital or correction along with hopes that any punishment will be greatly reduced due to their beliefs or good lives.
However, what a relief, each and every person will experience upon their resurrection when they encounter God’s mercy and complete forgiveness face to face.
Like Jeff, coming in to see his grandmother with the willow branch, expecting a painful retribution, but instead presented with a surprising display of mercy. Perhaps this is what each and every individual who's ever lived will experience and be fully aware of at their resurrection.
An unexpected display of mercy!
What could be better?
Paul tells us in Acts 24:15 that the resurrection is for all, the just and the unjust. That means every person who ever lived will enter the renewed creation with new, restored bodies, knowing that the switch intended for them was discarded when our amazing Savior took those lashes on His back and those nails in His hands and feet at the cross.
At that moment we will fully understand who Jesus is and what He accomplished as the successful savior of the world.
“For the gazillionth time, my Aunt Betty told me to go get a switch off a tree so she could spank me (in the country we called it a “whippin”).
I had learned in the past that if I brought in a wimpy switch she would get mad and go yank off a log.
As I returned with the weapon of mass emotional destruction I steeled both my mind and my body for the expected physical assault.
This time I am not going to cry - no matter how much it hurts!
I was now just as tall as she was, so as I handed her the switch, we were eye-to-eye like two gladiators in the arena.”