September 22, 2004
Encouragement for Today
"It Ain't Funny"
Author, Speaker, and an Assistant Director with Proverbs 31 Ministries
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." (Proverbs 1:7)
Let's face it: Sometimes it is hard not to laugh at our children when they are blatantly sinning. However, Christians should not laugh at or make light of the things for which God sent His Son to die. Sin is not a laughing matter. We may think it's cute when little Sally is proud of herself for shoving the class bully down, even though he is twice her size. We may think it's cute for three year old Tommy to put his hands on his hips, poke out his adorable little bottom lip, and with all his charm say, "No" after Mama has told him to "Come here." But God doesn't think it's cute, and if we are to have the mindset of Christ, we shouldn't either.
Let me tell you the story of "Doug." When my daughter Alex was three years old, she knew she was not allowed to get into my make-up bag. It was dinnertime and our family was sitting at the table eating when Mickey, our little Yorkie dog, came prancing in the kitchen with lipstick on. It was quite a humorous sight. Assuming the obvious, we all looked over at Alex, who began to hum innocently and act as though nothing was out of the ordinary.
After being questioned about how Mickey came to have "Rosewood" lips, Alex looked us in the eyes and with a straight and overly serious face she replied, "Doug did it." My husband and I glanced at each other trying to assess the new information. When it was obvious that neither of us knew anyone, friends or family, by the name of Doug, we turned back to Alex and asked, "Who's Doug?" She climbed down from the table and disappeared for a few minutes and then returned with Doug. Doug turned out to be a four-inch-tall action figure complete with a cape and a clip on top of his head so that one might hook him on clothes or some other item.
I wanted to make sure that she was not confusing honesty with pretending so I asked, "Alex, did you go get Mama's lipstick and put it in this thing on top of Doug's head and then help Doug put the lipstick on Mickey?"
"Oh, no ma'am," came the reply, as if she were shocked that I would even suggest such a thing. "I didn't get your lipstick because I'm not supposed to get your lipstick because that would be disobeying. I was in my room and Doug went in your room and got it aaaaalllllll by himself and put it on Mickey."
Her eye contact was quite amazing as she recounted Doug's sinfulness in great detail. She was trying extremely hard to be serious and convincing.
By this point Jim, my husband, was cracking up. However, realizing the seriousness of the offense, he tried to hide his laughter. He buried his head in his folded arms on the table, but his shoulders were bouncing up and down as he tried to contain his laughter. And it was SO HARD not to laugh. She really was adorable with her sweet, petite face, her little blond ponytail bobbing up and down as she assured us that "Doug did it."
I told her "Alex, Doug did not do it. Doug is not capable of walking back to my bedroom, getting my lipstick and putting it on the dog."
I showed her in the Bible what God says about lying and told her that she needed to go sit on her bed until she was ready to be honest. I was hoping that she would come clean quickly so that we could get on with our evening. Things are never that simple.
When I went into her room and asked if she was ready to be honest, she sat straight up on her bed and said, "The reason Doug could do it by himself is because I put batteries in him."
To make a long story short, one lie began to snowball into many lies. I dressed her for bed and while I was brushing her teeth she finally began to cry. I could tell it was a cry of repentance. I asked, "It makes you feel bad to tell lies, doesn't it, Alex?" She nodded her little head. "You know, Honey, the sad way that you feel right now is the same way God feels when you tell a lie." She then proceeded to tell me what really happened. She was absolutely relieved and thankful to get a spanking. Her heart was clean.
All this to say: It would have been easy for us to laugh it off and say, "Oh, she's just three. Can you believe that she can come up with such a tale?" But God takes sin seriously and so should we. Had we laughed it off as being cute, she would have kept that guilt in her heart and it would have hardened and weighed her down. I wouldn't trade anything for the freedom she had after receiving her spanking and cleaning out her heart. I don't think she would either.
This devotion was taken from Ginger's book, Don't Make Me Count to Three, published by Shepherd Press.
My prayer for today:
Lord, please help me to address the seriousness of sin with my children. Help me to instill in them a Holy hatred for that which displeases you. Let the faithful instruction of your Word flow from my lips and penetrate the hearts of my children.
Write down the struggles your children are facing. Examples might include: disobeying, lying, disrespect, etc. Look up what God's Word says about these issues. Begin addressing these issues in accordance with God's Word in order that you might train your children in the righteousness of Christ. For help with how to biblically address sinful behaviors in children, see Wise Words for Moms under additional resources.
In what ways am I taking the sinful behavior of my children lightly?
How am I teaching my children to love and obey Jesus?
Why is sin not a laughing matter?
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15, (NIV)
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4, (NIV)
So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24, (NIV)
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26, (NIV)
Wise Words for Moms chart by Ginger Plowman
Don't Make Me Count to Three! book by Ginger Plowman
Reaching the Heart of Your Child video/audio series by Ginger Plowman