“Even small children are known by their actions...”
Missy stood in the kitchen. Her attention on the electric stove top. The glowing red seemed to mesmerize her. she remembered several months earlier when she was told never to touch it, especially when the stove top is glowing red. “It will burn you,” her mother warned. Although Missy knew she was not supposed to get near the stove when it was red, she would catch herself glancing up there. “Why not?” she thought, “What did getting burned feel like?”
It was only last week when she had stood in the kitchen and saw the stove top was black, not glowing red. She had stood and wondered, “What would one little touch feel like?” just as she was now. Obeying her mom and trusting her judgment is what had kept her from reaching out to touch it then. She hated doing things that were wrong because of the feeling it left in her heart. Missy hadn’t wanted to get hurt, she just wanted to know how it would feel. Slowly she had reached out her hand and touched the stove which was surprisingly cold sending a shiver down her spine. Her curiosity was satisfied and a glance around told her nobody had seen her. Immediately Missy had recognized that yucky feeling in her heart. It was not about the stove, that was uneventful, but knowing that she had secretly touched it sent a shiver down her spine, just as cold as the black stove top.
But today the stove was glowing and her curiosity burned again. Missy paused, “Would it feel the same as last week? Would it be cold or would it be more cozy?” She could tell it was cooling down, the glow was slowly going away and being replaced by the black. With her opportunity slipping away, Missy moved her fingers with anticipation to make a move. Then her mothers voice rang in her head, “It will burn you.”
Missy’s heart raced at the warning, she frantically flipped her head around the kitchen to see if she was still alone. She was, but she knew it was probably not for long. She had not reached up sooner and had paused to contemplate only because of her faint memory of a cold yucky heart feeling.
She loved her mom and didn’t want to let her down. “But,” she rationalized, “I got away with it last week and my heart felt yucky for only a while.” Curiosity slowly became stronger than her conviction. Her thoughts raced, “Mom didn’t know and nothing bad had happened and even more... I didn’t get hurt.” Concluding that her mom’s warning was wrong she continued, “What came of last week? Nothing. I touched and walked away just fine.” Missy knew if she hurried right now she could satisfy her curiosity once and for all, the glow was fading and she didn’t know if she would have another chance. “After all,” she concluded, “it’s better to be hot than cold so it couldn’t be bad.”
Deciding that it would be just like last time Missy reached up. She knew that all this curiosity would be put to rest by doing it real quick, touching the stove and walking away. Missy paused as she moved toward the stovetop continued to reason to herself, “Nobody would even have to know.” And this time she knew she would be fully satisfied because she would finally find out what it felt like when it was red. One thing is for sure, she would avoid that cold shiver.
Readying herself for a quick exit from the kitchen, Missy opened her fist with her fingers spread apart and pressed down on the stove top. “Aughhhhhhh!” Missy shrieked as she jerked herself back. The pain ran all the way up her arm and her hand was stinging like she had never felt before. The shock of it made her fall to the floor and shake. What is this??? She didn’t realize that it would hurt! She didn’t know she would actually really get burned! The pain was unbearable and all she could do was stare at her burning skin and scream. Was her hand going to fall off? Her mom rushed in and frantically asked what happened. “Aughhhhhhh, stow, stow, Aughhhhh!” Missy whimpered.
“You touched the stove!?!?!?! Oh no!” Missy’s mom exclaimed as she rushed over scooping Missy up and proceeding to run her hand under water. It barely soothed the pain.
“Why on earth did you touch the stove?” Missy’s mom asked in bewilderment.
Missy couldn’t stop screaming from the pain and her heart screamed even louder at her mom’s question. As the water ran over her hand Missy thought maybe her scorched skin would just peal off. After several minutes Missy was able to settle down but felt like her skin was ruined forever. Maybe her hand wouldn’t fall off and perhaps her the skin was not peeling like she feared, but her entire arm felt the blow. Maybe the muscles would never work again.
Then Missy noticed that her entire family stood in the kitchen staring at her as she sat on the counter next to the sink with her hand under the running water. Her dad at the counter flipping through their phone book, her older sister Sherry rattling off stove safety, her younger brother Ralphy demanding to know how it happened and her little sister Candy just tearing up. “So much for the quick exit. So much for nobody ever knowing.” Missy thought with dismay. Now everyone was there and knew what she had done. She realized that she had been foolish in disobeying. Embarrassment creeped all over her. The pain and the burn was proof. Missy’s dad and mom called the doctor and followed the instructions of wrapping Missy’s hand up in a bandage that had to stay on for over a week. She remembered her mother’s voice, “It will burn you.” Now she understood what that meant. With all her might she wished she could pull back time and trusted and obeyed her mom and found a way to kill her own curiosity. But now the consequence was not going away. She had to live with this pain and it felt like it would never subside.
Every day for the next week the pain did not seem to subside. Her mom said it would and that she had to be patient saying that her hand would not stay hurt forever even though it felt like it would. That little by little she would heal and feel better. Never did Missy want this consequence. The pleasure of feeding a curiosity was not worth the price she was now paying. Missy heard her mom say it would be better but the pain told her she would never be better. That she would never be the same.
About a week later while Missy laid in her bed, her mom came in to say goodnight.
“Mom. I’m sowy foe tuchin thee stobe,” Missy said with a large lump in her throat.
Missy’s mom gave her a hug saying “I forgive you Missy.” Those words of forgiveness lifted a burden Missy had carried all week. “I give you rules so that you do not do things that will hurt yourself.” Missy knew it was true. The lesson ran deeper then her mom knew. Deeper than the burnt skin. It ran all the way to her heart and never again did she want to find out what disobeying would bring. Maybe that cold yucky heart feeling was a warning. She prayed that she would recognize that warning for all her life.
“I’m fewing bet-toe today mom,” Missy exclaimed as she looked at her bandaged hand. “Wen can de ban-dwidge can come off?”
“Soon Missy. The doctor will probably take it off tomorrow.”
When the bandage came off Missy had a hard time moving her fingers and using her hand at all. It took several more weeks for complete healing. But the day came when she didn’t think about her hand and she used it just as she did before, without protecting the sensitive spots. Her mom was right. She did heal from the pain. But, on the other hand, the lesson she learned found a permanent home in her brain.
Proverbs 20:11 “Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright?”
Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”