Monday, July 28, 2014

Remember, I have sin in my heart

            Recently I was driving home from a busy morning out with my kids. It had been a fun time, including lunch, so as we approached home I began to review what they needed to do when we arrived, specifically how important it was for them to obey at rest time. Emma chimed in, “But it’s so hard to obey! Remember, Mom, I have sin in my heart.”

            A million thoughts raced through my mind in an instant. She’s listening! She remembers! Obedience is hard! She’s getting it…sin is real to her! Ok, great opportunity here, God what do I say? Shoot, we’re almost home, gotta keep it short. Rest time is going to be great today! They get how important obedience is! No more thinking, say something…woops, light changed!

            And so we talked briefly about how very hard obedience is, especially because we have sin in our hearts. But God hasn’t left us to do it on our own, the Holy Spirit is God with us, our helper to show us when we are doing something wrong and give us strength to obey and do what is right. And that even though we still sin, we ask forgiveness and God always forgives.

            We arrived home and the magical moment passed as suddenly as it arrived. There was the usual fighting over using the bathroom first, another fight over who got the favorite book first, and still another arguing about what to listen to at rest time. “So much for obedience!!” I grumbled as I left their room.

            Emma’s words echoed in my mind, “But it’s so hard to obey!”

Give them grace.
            Remind them gently.
                        Teach them faithfully.

Deep breath, quick prayer. Rest time, take 2!

            Ten minutes later I’d left my grace in the other room, my words could never have been called gentle, and I was angry that my quiet time was interrupted. I wasn’t an example of faithfulness to anything except my own selfish desires.

            I left their room with a self-justified huff, my words “you need to obey now!” hotly ringing in my ears. How quickly I deflated. Like running full speed into a sliding glass door.

Give them grace.
            Remind them gently.
                        Teach them faithfully.

Fail. Fail. Fail. It’s so hard to obey. Remember, Abba, I have sin in my heart. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

            So my forgiven and humbled self walked back into the kids’ room to ask their forgiveness, to remind them again how hard it is to obey but how God freely forgives, and to tell them how much I love them.

            The remainer of rest time was hardly perfect. Likely I broke up three or four more fights, didn’t get the laundry folded, and probably read more of my book while walking back and forth to their room than while actually sitting. And anger burned in my heart toward them yet again, and I had to ask forgiveness of them and of the Lord again.

            So like Emma said, I need to remember that obedience is hard for them, and so I need to be quick with my grace and forgiveness. I need to remember that obedience is hard for me too, and so I need to be quick to ask forgiveness and seek the Lord when I’m wrong. And while I’m learning to see the sin in my own heart, it gradually becomes easier to not take so much offense when others sin against me. The struggle with sin is in the hearts of everyone I come into contact with, so while I’m giving grace to my kids, I can also lead them to give grace to others. Remember, it’s hard to obey.

1 comment:

guitargirl75 said...

Trying to read this through the tears! This is the biggest regret I have as a mom to you all is that I let anger control me instead of giving you grace, love and patience. But God works even through our mistakes and imperfections, and I can only praise Him in thankfulness for your three lives and how He brought you all to himself despite my miscues!
Continue to bring everything to Him and you won't go wrong-I love you!