Recently, my children were exposed to something that I really wish they hadn’t been. There was an individual who started behaving very poorly in their presence. The details aren’t important, so I will leave them out. However, my children heard some things that were untrue, and were presented in a very ungodly way.
Confession: When I heard about the situation, Immediately I was angry. Not just angry, but so angry It felt like my blood was boiling. Maybe angrier than I have ever been. Not just because of what was said and done by this individual, but because it happened in the presence of my children. You have heard of “Mamma Bears” well, I was morphing into “Daddy Tyrannosaurus Rex”. I wanted to fly off the handle. I wanted to “fix” the situation by taking a “stand”. Never mind that whole, being slow to wrath thing (Proverbs 19:11, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 15:18). I must confess, I was not following these principles in my thinking.
The Lesson: As I was putting my children to bed that evening, I told them that I was so sorry that they heard the things that they did. My daughter said, “Daddy, the Bible tells us that we should pray for those people. Can we pray for them together?” As she held out her hand towards mine.
Wait a second! That surely couldn’t have been what Jesus meant when He commanded His disciples to love their enemies, and to pray for those who persecuted them?!? (Matthew 5:44). Surely Jesus wouldn’t actually expect us to take a situation where someone behaves so poorly, and for us to not retaliate (Matthew 5:38-42). Surely all of those things are nice, well and good, but… Certainly are not principles to be applied when someone is being so incredibly rude. Surely then, we have a “right” to fight back… Then we turn our eyes to the cross, and we find Jesus praying for those who were literally, actively killing Him (Luke 23:34). I guess Jesus meant those things He said.
I thank God for my children daily. I also thank Him for the lessons that they teach me. Adults (like me) hear the teachings of Jesus, and we like them. They sound great in a book, but when we are faced with the situation in front of our face, we look to justify why that teaching really doesn’t apply here… Children, remind us that it does. It is no wonder that Jesus also said, “unless you become like children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3). I write this as a reminder to myself, Jesus meant what He taught, even when it hurts. He preached it, He practiced it, children understand it. It is time I do as well.