The Sad Chair

image.jpegBy Diana Manley RockwelL

As a discussion leader for bible study, I attended a leader’s meeting and class. My son Dale accompanied and attended class just as I did each week. The Children Leaders sing and teach the children the same story that the women learn, but they had the challenge of sometimes having to discipline the children. Dale spent time in the “sad chair” because it made the leaders sad when the child had to be in the chair and not with the other children.
We lived on a cul-de-sac at the top of a hill. The house was situated such that the lawn overlooked the avocado trees. We had one-half acre of land and the trees were in front of our house, with one tree situated at the top of the landing next to our driveway. We had a rule at the house that if one was playing in the front yard, one was not to go past the large beautiful avocado tree.
I liked the “sad chair” for discipline and one knew no toys were allowed while in the sad chair, which was a short length of time, Dale was four so he would be in the “sad chair” for four minutes under close supervision. Sometimes those were the longest four minutes. One day, we were out front and I had to go into the house for something and when I came back out of the house Dale was at the end of our steep driveway near the mailbox. He now needed to be disciplined.
Disciplining children is difficult. Sometimes I wish there was a manual that came with a child, “turn to page 6 if this happens.” If I was angry, I gave myself a time out. I made many mistakes. We read in Hebrews 12:10-11, “Our fathers disciplined us for a short time as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, it yields a peaceful harvest of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Beloved, are you trapped in sin-confess-sin-confess? God gave us 1 John 1: 9, the verse reads, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Mine was gluttony, maybe yours is anger, jealousy, overspending, whatever it is there is forgiveness. We do not have to sin.
That beautiful sunny day Dale was down at the mailbox, I yelled his formal name, “Dale Alan Rockwell, you are not supposed to go past the avocado tree!” But before I could say another word, he says, “Please! Mama, don’t put me in the ‘sad chair’!”
Although we may suffer the consequences of our choices. God’s discipline yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. Psalm 103:12 says if we ask for forgiveness, he forgives as far as the east is from the west. Remember we do not have to be in the sad chair according to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

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