Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We're all alike, aren't we?

We went to the grocery today, Little Lou, Bugsy, Stinky, and I.

My kids were angels.  All of them.  From the biggest all the way down to the littlest.  I behaved fairly well, too.  I gave Little Lou and Bugsy jobs today.  Little Lou carried the list, read the list to me, and marked off each item.  Bugsy helped me find the numbers for the correct aisles.  They both helped me bag the groceries; in fact, they finished bagging very soon after I finished paying!  They were under threat of losing quarters when we got home, though, and they must have REALLY wanted to keep those quarters!

It doesn't always work that way.  Sometimes we all behave much more poorly than we did today.  Sometimes Stinky squishes the bread or throws the green peppers on the floor.  Sometimes Bugsy runs laps around the cart or throws a fit in the store.  I rarely take Little Lou with me, because I find that two kids are way less than three kids!  I often get grumpy.  The threat of losing money usually doesn't work.  It doesn't matter what I threaten or what I offer, sometimes, no matter how hard they claim they're trying, things just don't go well at the grocery!

Remember how I told you God's been stepping on my toes just a wee bit too often lately?

Yeah, about that.  I was going about my normal daily routine a couple weeks ago and suddenly these words popped into my head:

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

That's Romans 7:15 if you're wondering.  It's also a huge blow when it gets you in the gut.  You see, I'm a thinker, and sometimes when I'm alone and it's quiet (say, for instance, in the shower...hey, I have 3 kids, that's about all the "quiet" I get!) I like to reflect on life.  So this particular day, I was reflecting on my kids' behavior of late, particularly Little Lou's tantrums.  I was right in the middle of being frustrated because she kept telling me that she was TRYING to talk nicely to people.  And that's when it hit me.  Yep.

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

I'm pretty sure when God threw that punch he wasn't just talking about Little Lou.  Maybe he wasn't talking about her at all.  And I'm pretty sure it wasn't confined to the children, either.  Folks, I am pretty sure he was talking to yelling that at me.  He was trying to remind me that I'm just like them.
I'm just like them!

That, my friends, is what hurt the most.  The realization that I am just like them.  The understanding that Little Lou probably IS doing the best she can to keep her words and her anger and her behavior in general under control.  I'm more likely to fall into the "For what I want to do I do not do" category, but that doesn't really matter.  What matters is that my kids (and probably your kids) are trying. They're new people.  They're inexperienced.  They're just figuring this all out.  They're not going to get it all right...just like we don't.  I want you to read the whole passage, though, because it's really important.  This is Romans 7:15-25:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law;  but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Friends, I'm a sinner.  WE are sinners.  No matter how hard we try to be good, no matter how hard we try not to be bad, we're never ever going to live up to God's standards.  We're going to mess up.  I'm going to mess up.  My kids are going to mess up.

My kids are going to mess up! 

You know what God did, though?  He sent his son-his own son!-as a sacrifice for MY sins (and your sins, and even our kids' sins)!  God knew in advance that I wasn't going to be perfect and that sometimes I would do the things I don't want to do and not do the things I do want to do.  He sent his son down to this earth to die for ME so that even though I mess up, even though I sin, I'll get to spend my eternity with him!  He shows me grace and mercy every. single. day.

My kids are going to mess up! 

And when they do, I am going to remember those words.  Remember them?  They're true for all of us.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

The next time I see one of my kids trying, but failing, to do the things they want to do, or not do the things they don't, I'm going to remember that I'm not perfect either.  I'm going to remember that even when I do my best, my best isn't good enough.  I can't expect theirs to be either.  I'm going to show them a little bit more of the grace and mercy my God shows me every day.

And that, my friends, is just a little bit of the "overflow" I want to show my kids (and myself) this year and always.

Happy new year, friends.  May God truly bless you this year and all those to come!


Jen Crum said...


Terry Moore said...

Nice that you share the love of Christ with others.

Give your child an educational head start before entering school."

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