Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Love Keeps No Record of Wrong

Yesterday was a tough parenting day.

By day's end I was finally able to articulate why: my children's behavior is one indicator of how well I am doing as a mother.  If they are disobedient, unkind, ungrateful, disrespectful or a host of other sins I take it personally.  I feel like a failure.

I should not take offense at their ill behavior; they are not perfect.  They will sin and more often than not I will be at the brunt of this behavior.

Even though I know that I can not make them perfect, I am still offended {shall I say angered?!} when they don't obey right away, all the way, and in a cheerful way.

Cleaning up after lunch I found myself making a laundry list of things I would tell Hubby when he came home.  Action by action I was remembering what my child said and did, then what I said in response.  I had a great list.  I was becoming quite the martyr.

Then I was struck by a 2x4 from the Lord.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Ouch.  I had to move on and forgive that loooooong laundry list that I worked so hard to create.

(Forgiving the wrong does not mean that I do not need to deal with the wrongs.  There are days when I tell Hubby a list of wrongs and together we tackle them.  Yesterday I was convicted that I was harboring bitterness and the recording keeping was not good for my heart.)

After the children were in bed my dear wise husband helped me realize that a key thing I can do in leading my children to maturity is to cause the consequences for sin to be painful.  I cannot control them.  I cannot make them want to obey.  I cannot force them to cheerfully help out.  But I can create painful consequences for stubbornness.  When there is disobedience (action and attitude) I need to provide consequences to help shape their character.  I need to expect disobedience and try to address it in advance.

Ephesians 6:3 promises children that it will go well with them if they honor their parents.  A part of honoring parents is obeying and being respectful.  Hubby and I have shared with our children about living in what Tedd Tripp calls the Circle of Blessing.  Children and adults have the moment by moment choice to live long and prosper or make life hard and receive due consequences.

It is my job as a parent to help my children learn the joy in obedience and doing things even when they don't want to.  This is character development.  There are many things that I do on a daily basis that I don't necessarily want to do but I still need to do them.

I am praying for them to make the right choices.  And creativity for me so that consequences sting.


volscats said...

I would love to hear more about your creative consequences...this is where I have trouble...knowing when to do what.

John and Pam Majors said...

Reading this made me so glad that you are the mother of my grandchildren. Soldier on Girl! God is leading you.

Julie said...

Shari (aka volsCATS): ah yes, the creative consequences. If I had the answers I would write a book and make millions for this is the question every parent wants answered.

I am a firm believer that under the golden age of 5, spanking is the best consequence - most of the time. That said, I know that every child is different and has a different currency, even under 5.

This is the challenge as a parent: to find what it is that speaks to the mind of the child.


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