Monday, May 5, 2008
About seven years ago I walked in on an argument between a little four year old Faith and a two year old Michaela. It went something like this:
Faith (with Michaela's pencil in hand): “Michaela, the Bible says we are supposed to share!” And with a whack she hit Michaela on the head with the pencil.
Faith had wanted to use Michaela's new pencil, but Michaela was not the least bit interested in sharing it.
As Michaela began to cry, and I began to comfort her, I tried to explain to Faith that the Bible might also have something to say about whacking your sister over the head with a pencil!
The girls laugh about it now. But it makes me think~ how many times do we say the “right thing” in the wrong spirit to others?
We talk about that idea a lot in our home. There are many ways to say something and if we are wise we will not speak in haste. We will learn from God's word about “how” to say that right thing to our brother, sister, husband, child.
The Lord has been working on this in me. As I was guiding a little one last week I felt like God was helping me get to the heart of the matter rather than being interested in just “getting” the right behavior.
It is beginning to dawn on me that every time I need to correct a little one, it is an opportunity to challenge them to live for Christ rather than themselves. While many parents teach their children to share, our motivation must be different than the world's. Our children must be motivated by a desire to live for Christ and to put to death their flesh. If it is not, I am doing nothing more than the heathen.
The issue of sharing remains, this past week another little girl struggled with the age old battle with the flesh. Now, seven years after the event with Faith and Michaela, I know just what my goal is.
The background: Tom and I had given all of the children kites just in time for a couple of windy days. What we learned~ kites that are shaped like kites fly better than kites that are shaped like bugs. We had one kite~ a butterfly that just wouldn't fly at all. So one of the girls did not have a working kite while another girl with a working kite had no interest in flying her kite or sharing it with the sister that had none.
How often we return to Hebrews 13:16.
“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
My conversation with the reluctant sharer went something like this:
Me: “What does God have to say about this issue?”
Her: “He says to share my kite...”
Me: “Well, no He doesn't exactly say to share our kites. Remember, in His Word He says, “Do not forget to do good and to...”
Her: “share” (THIS is why we memorize Scripture. Jesus combated Satan with God's living and active Word and so must we.)
Me: “And why does He say to do this? For with such sacrifices...”
Her: “God is well pleased.”
Then we were able to talk it through the issue using God's Word. I did my best to speak lovingly to her. You see, my goal was to woo her to God's side, not to whack her over the head with a pencil.
Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." This is a spiritual battle. We must be in prayer and have our sword ready!
We talked about these issues using Hebrews 13:16:
1. "Do not forget to do good and to share" This is God's desire for us.
2. "for with such sacrifices..." Sharing is going to be a sacrifice. God calls it a sacrifice. It's a choice between living for ourselves or living for Christ.
3. "God is well pleased" Who do we want to please? I asked my child~ who do you want to live for? Yourself or God? 1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
4. When she said she wanted to live for Christ I told her that was the wise choice. And I let her know that I was pleased to see God at work in her to will and do of His good pleasure. That is a work of God. Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Then I left it. A minute or two later she stood up. Walked to her sister, apologized for being selfish and told her she could use her kite. She turned back to me beaming. She had chosen Christ.
And I had kept myself from whacking her over the head with a pencil. It was a good day.
Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart."