Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

He Took My Whoopin’

A Character story about forgiveness.

Your parents and grandparents probably remember the day when children went to a one room schoolhouse. That one room had students from every grade but only one teacher. Often the families in the community were responsible for getting their teacher, and paying that teacher from their own earnings.
Kids in those days were not much different than you kids today. Most of them didn't care much for school and they didn't mind giving the teacher a hard time when they could. In one such school, the children bragged about how many teachers they had run out of their school in the course of one year!
One day news got around that a new teacher was coming. The boys gathered at the school early to plan their strategy. "We'll drive this one out in just half a day," Big Jim declared. The other boys nodded approvingly. And when they caught sight of the teacher, they knew it would be a cinch. Up the path road a short, gaunt man, dressed in black. Why, Big Jim was at least a head taller than he was, and, no doubt, a far piece stronger too!
The teacher called the children to order and all sat quiet for a moment, wondering if he could possibly last a hour in their school. "Hello, Class," he began. "I am Mr. McConnell. I will be your new teacher for the rest of this school year." A titter rippled over the room. Mr. McConnell continued, seeming not to notice. "In order for us to have a good year, we must have rules for our classroom."
"We don't like no rules," one of the boys blurted out.
"Uh, that's 'We don't like any rules,'" the teacher corrected. "Yes, young man, I understand that. I don't like rules either. But we must have rules to know what is expected of us. However, I am not going to set any rules. I want you children to tell me what rules you think would be important to have."
A long pause followed. No one had expected this! Finally someone shouted out, "There shouldn't be no stealin'."
"All right," Mr. McConnell agreed. "Let's write that one on the board. Any others?"
"There shouldn't be no lyin' neither," another boy said.
"And the boys shouldn't dunk the girls' pigtails in their ink wells," one girl announced.
After several more rules were given, Mr. McConnell said, "All right. That is enough rules to start with. If we find that more are necessary, we can add them later. However, it is better to have a few good rules, than to have so many rules that we can't possibly keep them all." Everyone nodded. "Now we need one more thing before we begin class work. We must have a punishment for disobeying the rules. A rule without a consequence is worthless. What do you think should be the punishment for disobeying one of your rules?"
"Ten hard licks with that big paddle," Big Jim answered, pointing to a large piece of wood hanging on the wall.
Everyone except Mr. McConnell gasped. "That is a stiff punishment, but I am agreed to it if you are." The class nodded again. "All right. That will be the punishment, for girls or boys alike disobeying any one of your rules. Let's hope that no one will break these rules and suffer such a fate. Now, let us begin our lessons."
The next two weeks went surprisingly well. The students were respectful to their new teacher. Anyone tempted to get out of line needed only to look on the wall.
But one day at lunch time, Mr. McConnell stood and grimly announced, "I am sorry to report to you that there has been a theft in this classroom." The students gasped and the girls clutched their mouths. "Big Jim is missing a sandwich from his lunch and it looks like someone here did, indeed, steal it. Whoever this is, please admit it now, and step forward for your punishment." No one moved or spoke and the students scarcely breathed. "Maybe you forgot it or just lost it on the way to school," one girl said aloud to Jim.
"Nope. I saw it in this box when I put it on the shelf. Someone stole it all right."
"It will be easier for everyone if whoever did this will just admit it now," Mr. McConnell continued. Another long silence followed. Then sobs began from the seat in the front corner.
"It was me," Billy admitted, his words punctuated with sobs. "I stole your sandwich, Big Jim. I-I ain't had a good meal for a week and. . . and I-I couldn't help myself."
"I'm sorry, Billy. I understand," Mr. McConnell said, "but the punishment still must be given. Come forward and get your whooping." As Billy rose, and walked forward, Big Jim jumped up.
"Mr. McConnell, "I don't care nothin' about that sandwich. I forgive him. He can just keep it."
"That's very kind of you, Jim. But unfortunately, we set up rules when we began, and Billy broke one of those rules. In spite of your forgiveness, the punishment must still be given." A deafening silence filled the room as Billy leaned over for his ten whacks with the paddle. But just as the teacher raised the paddle to begin, Big Jim yelled out, "Wait! I-I'll take his whacks for him. Billy's just a little kid. I can take it a whole lot better than he can."
"Well," said Mr. McConnell. "This is unusual. The rule is that ten hard whacks must be given out for an offense, but it did not state who was to receive the whacks. Therefore, it is possible for an innocent person to pay the punishment for the guilty if you are agreed, Billy." Billy watched Big Jim as he walked forward and then nodded. Few could watch as the blows came down. But when the tenth one echoed through the little school room, Billy ran to Big Jim and hugged him. "Oh, thank you, thank you," he sobbed. "I love you for what you done for me." By now most everyone else was crying too.
"Dear Class," Mr. McConnell said as he wiped his face with his handkerchief. "This was indeed a wonderful act of love we saw today. But let me tell you of an even greater act of love." Then Mr. McConnell told his attentive class of the love of God toward us. He said that we could not pay the penalty for our own sins for it was too great. Instead, Jesus came to the earth from heaven to make that payment for us on the cross. All who accept Him as Saviour are given eternal life. And, so we are told, most of the students in that classroom accepted God's free gift of life in Jesus. Have you?