I remember it hung on a doorknob.
My parents believed in corporal punishment. They thought the Bible taught it, and they believed and practiced the Bible’s teachings as they understood them. They never abused me, nor did they ever apply this method of punishment to parts of my body they shouldn’t have. But they believed a good spanking was in order when I had willfully disobeyed them (emphasis on willfully).
My dad’s favorite tool was a black belt from which he had removed the buckle. As a young boy, I remember the belt hanging on the doorknob of his and Mom’s bedroom. When I willfully broke one of the house rules, he and Mom used it—Dad more than Mom, although Mom’s use frightened me a little more.
But according to Mom, things differed when I was a noticeably younger boy. If I did something wrong, Dad took me into the bedroom and closed the door. The next thing she heard was crying. She assumed Dad was whipping the tar out of me. In reality, he had never used the belt. Talking to me did the trick. I had such a tender heart that the talk broke my little heart.
Heart-to-heart talks don’t always work, but they did on some occasions with me—and that’s what the aged apostle wanted to have with those he wrote to. “For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete” (2 John 1:12 NLT).
Some things are better said in person than through another form of communication. Sending a text or Snapchat—or firing off an email—has greatly reduced heart-to-heart talks with those we know. In some cases, we have no other choice—and communication this way beats waiting two weeks for a letter to arrive—but often these forms become our choices of interactions when they don’t have to be.
Somehow, I can’t imagine that Adam and Eve would have chosen a text or Snapchat from God over what God chose: walking and talking with them in the garden in the cool of the day.
Some things mean more when said in person. Love is spelled TIME. Mom calls me often and occasionally sends me a text or an email, but she prefers in-person gatherings. She reprimands me often for not coming to see her enough. Honestly, most of the time, I only visit when she needs me to fix something she has messed up on her computer or smartphone. But my wife and I do make time once every week to eat out with her and my stepdad.
This month, we celebrate Mother’s Day. If yours is still alive, make time to celebrate her influence in your life by spending time with her if possible. If death has taken your mother, take some time to celebrate the memories.
And when possible, with all your friends and family, chose the in-person heart-to-hearts over the more convenient methods of communication.