David Discovers Repentance

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“Hey, Mom!” David shouted. “Look at the cool slingshot Papa brought me. I’m taking it outside to see how well I can hit things.”

“Don’t aim at birds or animals,” Mom warned. David assured her he wouldn’t.

Roaming the woods behind his house with a pocket full of rocks and Skip at his heels, David shot several trees, bushes, and rocks. How high can I hit something? he wondered. Forgetting his promise to his mother, he aimed, pulled back as far as he could, and watched the stone sail strong and true — straight to the chest of a bird.

The bird fell to the ground, lifeless. “Oh no,” David moaned. “What have I done?” Hearing a noise overhead, he saw a nest and climbed to where it rested. In it three hungry baby birds were squawking. David slowly backed down the tree without touching the nest or the birds. He and Skip hid in a nearby bush, hoping to see another bird return to the babies. None came near. What was he to do?

Hating the thought of admitting what he’d done, David forced himself to return home. Mom saw him and Skip come dragging through the yard, and she instantly knew something was wrong. Stepping onto the back porch, she called out, “David, what’s the matter? You look like you lost your best friend.”

Guilt overcame him, and he dropped to the ground cross-legged, head in his hands. “Mom, I know I promised not to aim at anything living, but I honestly didn’t think the rock would go that high.”

“What are you saying?”

“I accidentally hit and killed a robin, and I think she has some babies. I found a nest. I never dreamed disobedience could feel this bad. It makes my heart and my stomach hurt. What can I do?”

Mom smiled, understanding his pain. “David, you are learning an important lesson firsthand.”

“What lesson? I already know I shouldn’t point my slingshot at animals.”

“This is much more important,” Mom replied. “You’re learning the true meaning of repentance. Remember when you’ve done something wrong and we tell you to say, ‘I’m sorry’? Have you ever said it when you didn’t really mean it?”

“Yeah,” David confessed. “Lots of times. I remember saying it just so I wouldn’t get into more trouble. But that’s not like today. I really do feel sorry and wish I could go back and undo what I’ve done.”

“This is more like the repentance that the Bible talks about when we’re told to ‘Repent and be baptized.’ It’s not just a fleeting thought of regret or feeling sorry that we got caught. It’s a sincere desire to never do those things again, to turn our behavior around and seek to follow God’s will fully.”

“Yeah, this is really different,” David admitted. “I never want to feel like this again. I’ll be super careful with my slingshot from now on.”

“That’s great.” Mom smiled. “Now let’s see how we can feed three hungry birds.”

Marcia Sanders
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Marcia Sanders is the mother of three: Matthew, Adam, and April (Brann), and she is "nana" to Ava and Jonah Brann. Since she retired from her career in education, Marcia and Randy have enjoyed spending time with their children and grandchildren, as well as camping, hiking, motorcycling, kayaking, and traveling.