Pool Table Mercy

A Lamplighter Moment from Mark Hamby

Recently a mother wrote: “My nine-year-old son said something disrespectful to me, so I got out that belt and I started chasing him! He ran down to the basement, but as soon as I got down the stairs, I began to hesitate. I realized something: he was running from me.” If you’re about to discipline your children and they’re running from you, something’s wrong.

When a dictatorial parent faces a resistant child, they often take their behavior as a personal offense. They fight fire with fire, verbally and emotionally beating that child into submission. Yes, discipline is important, but there is also a time for compassion and mercy. After all, that’s how God deals with us! Lamentations 3:22 teaches us, “Because of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

So she put down the belt and continued to share that: “He was underneath the pool table, sitting there in a little ball. I ducked under the pool table and said, ‘You’re having a bad day, aren’t you? You know, I can understand what you’re going through. Can I pray for you?’” She prayed for her son and she told him, “I love you.” He crawled over to her, and putting his head on her shoulder, he hugged his mom. “You know what was really amazing? In that tense moment, we were underneath the pool table together, and he was hugging me, and he’s never run from me since, nor have I since chased him with a belt . . . I now pursue him with mercy . . . and it’s working.”

We must lead our children out of their rebellion, not push them farther in. We will make many mistakes as parents, but if we are going to err, let’s make sure that we err on the side of mercy.