Thursday, March 5, 2009

Naughty Corner

The year was 1961. The place was St. Ann's Catholic School. The teacher, Mrs. George. There were two words in her vocabulary that evoked immense fear in the lives of her kindergarten students - Naughty Corner. This was a place in the classroom housing one piece of furniture, a chair facing a blank wall. A most dreadful place! To a five year old that yellow, plastic chair with steel legs was as intimidating as an electric chair to a death row inmate.
Good old Mrs. George had plenty of patience but when tested to the limits her last resort was the Naughty Corner. Anyone sent there went with everyone's eyes watching the long mile back to the dreaded place. Lessons were learned as one sat face to the wall, backside to the class. Remorse, repentance, shame, guilt, anger at self and the teacher (or perhaps the child who didn't get sent), swirled about like the fairground's tilt-a-whirl.
The Naughty Corner was for naughty behavior. God doesn't do naughty corners. Time outs however, He does do. There are consequences when we make wrong choices. Prison may even be the consequence of a wrong choice. Yet my Bible tells me in Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Time outs may set us aside from where we want to be while we reflect on how we need to be. Time outs get us alone with God for reflection, reproof, conviction and confession. Time outs heal. Sure the healing process may be uncomfortable and even hurt - so does necessary surgery. After the healing takes place and lessons are learned, the time out can be understood and deemed valuable. Time outs are to build up, not tear down. Time outs are to bring us to a higher place with God on our journey. Time outs are not naughty corners. They rescue us from ourselves, deliver us from humiliation, and set our face on The Redeemer.