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Voice: Nicholson letter heartbreaking, inspiring

November 15, 2001

I would like to express a very heartfelt thank you to Mr. Nicholson for his letter printed on Oct. 29. He responded to a previous column by Mr. Jerry Godsey.

My heart was aching as well as tears flowing as I read some of the horrible experiences Mr. Nicholson had at the hand of his own father in the name of God. I wish I could say that the things he has experienced were exaggerated or in some way made up, but unfortunately, I have heard too many similar stories to ignore what he expressed.

Very sadly, there have been many people who have had the same heart-wrenching experiences of abuse under the "secrecy" of a people who go to church and calls themselves Christians.

I have spent many years listening to people, young and old, tell of their bravery and courage to overcome horrible things that were done to them in the privacy of their own homes.

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Thank you, Mr. Nicholson, for sharing some of your very painful memories to help us think more about what we do to others and who we say we represent.

Jesus would never permit us to beat or hurt children in the name of discipline. I recently went to the conference on domestic violence sponsored by our local Center for Family Solutions.

I went to the workshops presented for the "religious community." The speaker shared about the statement Mr. Nicholson said his father used that God had commanded him not to "spare the rod." She explained that the rod is used often as a word picture for giving direction.

We need to give our children direction and guidance to choose the right things, not to use this as permission to beat someone.

Mr. Nicholson was so correct to remind us that God did pad a special part of our body so it could be used for those rare, but sometimes necessary, spankings.

Mr. Nicholson has also done the most important thing God has instructed us to do, and that is to forgive. Holding bitterness and anger, even though well-earned, only punishes us.

I hope and pray that those of us who call ourselves Christians will listen attentively to Mr. Nicholson's own life experiences and purpose in our hearts not to call ourselves Christians if we are not willing to follow the ways of Jesus.

Then, if we truly are Christians, we need to be consistent in every area of our Christian life, and that starts at home.

DEBY ELLETT

El Centro

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