Monday, February 7, 2011

The Heart #2: Do I skip the heart because I'm lazy?

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7

I shared in my first post in this series how the Bible teaches that our our behavior flows from our hearts.

I've been watching myself as I parent. Some days I'm SO tired from conversation after conversation with Jimmy. We have a whole process we go through to address his disobedience. We start with 5 quick questions for him to show Jimmy how the disobedience came from his heart. Sometimes, we then go through a correction/discipline and prayer time. Always, he gets to "try again" and be fully restored. It's really cool to walk through his sin with him and come out fully restored. We have no anger or hardship afterwards, but can continue on in our fun as family. We have AMAZING conversations about Christ during it, BUT, it's a long process and as sin compounds on sin, sometimes I can't even remember when we started or what the original issue was!

It's no easier with my little guy. Here's my day with Caleb: "No thank you." "No, Buddy." "Mommy said no."He will look directly at me and smile before throwing food, pulling the blinds, or running away as I call to him. Some days it feels fruitless to say this again and again. I'm tired and I think, is it worth it?
Caleb (6 months old): rolled over to pull down blinds while watching to see what I'd do
When I don't walk through Jimmy's sin or set boundaries so Caleb can see his sin, I'm missing a chance to show them how great God's love for us is that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. When I don't walk through their sin, I can't show the Rescuer. If I'm honest, it's because of my own love for myself above all others. My behavior is showing the sin flowing from my heart. I just want a break (ease of life) more than I want to care for my children's hearts. Ouch!

We want our boys to know Christ and live forever in abundant joy and peace in Him. The gift of knowing Jesus and being His only comes only from God, but He graciously allows us to point them to Him.

We get to show them His great love and forgiveness. And not just in the fun "Bible story" part of our day. We share throughout as we walk and talk and play. And as we sin. Yup. We can teach that though it seems freeing at first when we indulge in sin, it is actually bondage that, in the end, leads to death. Jesus came to rescue His own as we flounder helplessly back again and again to our sin. What better time to share the good news that Jesus came and took the wrath for his enemies and put on us his righteousness than when they see how far off and in need they are?

It might be easier to yell at them, or just give a quick punishment, or lay a guilt trip them. It would be done quickly. That's SO tempting sometimes and we've had some people lovingly (and not so lovingly) tell us we should use guilt, manipulation, yell at them, or just overlook sin. But God's Word doesn't show that. It says we are to guide their hearts to love Him with ALL their hearts and to train them up in the way they should go.

 So, do I skip the heart for my temporary ease? Or do I press on to the harder work of loving my kids by showing them their heart need and the great Savior who redeems all our sin destroys? 

I'm praying I'll point to Jesus.
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."-Ephesians 6:4


I'll share our questions to get to the heart and discipline/correction process in the next few posts...


[Read the rest of the series here: # 3- Questions, #4 When to correct, #5- Our correction process, #6- Bad Character]

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