Praise and Punishment - A Family Devotional
Respect Protects Us from Condemnation and Provides for Praise.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Romans 13:2-4.
Verse of the Day: “The authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well” (Romans 13:3).
Four-year-old Chad raced into his mother’s arms after Sunday school.
“Mommy!” he cried. “Look what I got!” He showed her a bright yellow sticker on his shirt, bearing the words, “Good job!” in bold black letters.
“Where did you get that?” Mom asked.
“Teacher gave it to me,” Chad said. “She said I was the most r’pectful student in her class this week!”
“Respectful? Wonderful!” Mom said, clapping her hands. “What did you do to earn that sticker?”
He quickly remembered. “I put my crayons away as soon as the teacher said, and I never talked when she was talking . . . like I do sometimes.”
Mom tousled Chad’s hair. “That’s wonderful, Chad. I’m so proud of you.”
Just then, Chad’s eight-year-old sister Penny walked up. “My teacher wants to talk to you,” Penny said. She had a grouchy expression on her face.
“Why?” Mom asked. Chad listened with interest.
“I don’t know,” Penny answered. “I… I might have said some bad things.”
“Like what, sweetheart?” Mom asked.
Penny shrugged. “I… I might have called the teacher a mean old lady.”
“Penny, you didn’t!”
Penny nodded sadly. “I’m sorry, Mom! I didn’t think she could hear me.”
“That doesn’t matter, Penny. What you said was very disrespectful.”
“I know,” Penny muttered.
Mom glanced from her son to her daughter. “I want you two to remember what you feel like now. Chad, you feel happy and proud, don’t you?” The boy nodded.
“You feel that way because you were respectful in Sunday-school class. And Penny, you feel sad and a little ashamed right now, don’t you?” She watched Penny nod. “So,” Mom continued, “which do you like better--the way you feel when you’ve been respectful to other people, or the way you feel when you’ve been disrespectful?”
“Respectful!” both children answered.
“Good,” Mom said. She took her children’s hands in hers. “Now, Penny, let’s go apologize to your teacher.”
TO DO: Write a note of appreciation to someone in authority over you (a boss, a teacher, a pastor). Tell that person how much his or her authority has meant to you over the years.
TO PRAY: “God, thank you for reminding us that respecting others protects us from bad feelings and provides praise too.”