A little girl once said: “Mother, does God ever scold?” She had seen her mother, under circumstances of strong provocation, lose her temper, and give way to the impulse of passion; and pondering thoughtfully for a moment, she asked: “Mother, does God ever scold?”
The question was so abrupt and startling, that it arrested the mother’s attention almost with a shock, and she said, “Why, my child, what makes you ask such a question?”
“Because, mother, you have always told me that God was good, and that we should try to be like Him; and I should like to know if he ever scolds.”
“No, my child; of course not.”
“Well, I’m glad he don’t, for scolding always hurts me, even if I feel I have done wrong; and it don’t seem to me that I could love God very much if he scolded.”
The mother felt rebuked before her simple child. Never before had she heard so forcible a lecture on the evils of scolding. The words of the child sank deep in her heart, and she turned away from the innocent face of her little one to hide the tears that gathered to her eyes. Children are quick observers; and the child, seeing the effect of her words, eagerly inquired:
“Why do you cry, mother? Was it naughty for me to say what I said?”
"No, my love, it was all right; I was only thinking that I might have spoken more kindly, and not have hurt your feelings by speaking so hastily, and in anger, as I did.”
“O mother, you are good and kind; only I wish there were not so many bad things to make you fret and talk as you did just now. It makes me feel away from you so far, as if I could not come near you, as I can when you speak kindly. And, oh, sometimes I fear I shall be put off so far I can never get back again!"
“No, my child, don’t say that,” said the mother, unable to keep back her tears, as she felt how her tones had repelled her little one from her heart; and the child, wondering what had so affected her parent, but intuitively feeling it was a case requiring sympathy, reached up, and throwing her arms about her mother’s neck, whispered “Mother, dear mother, do I make you cry? Do you love me?”
"O, yes! I love you more than I can tell,” said the parent, clasping the little one to her bosom; and I will try never to scold again; but if I have to reprove my child, I will try to do it, not in anger, but kindly, deeply as I may be grieved that she has done wrong.”
“O, I am so glad. I can get so near to you if you don’t scold! And do you know, mother, I want to love you so much, and I will try always to be good?”
The lesson was one that sank deep in that mother’s heart, and has been an aid to her for many years. It impressed the great principle of reproving in kindness, not in anger. If we would gain the great end of reproof -- that of winning the child to what is right, and to the parent’s heart.
- Mother, Home, and Heaven
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893