I am confessing a Mom fail.
I used my Bible as punishment. I’ve felt guilty for two days and now hopefully I can walk away from it since I have confessed. I have tried to paint it as a “teachable moment” but let’s call a spade a spade. I wanted to prove a point and I’m afraid I did it all wrong.
Monday we were having a day. Not a “DAY” like we had yesterday – but a day just the same. Top Middle was being obnoxious which unfortunately seems to be his modus operandi for the summer. He was an equal opportunity annoyance so everyone was in his path except Little Bit. And if someone tried to fight back, he cranked it up a notch.
Well, Mom-lady might have lost it.
“Son! Dining room table – NOW!! Here’s your pencil; here’s your paper. Write Ephesians 4:32 until I tell you to stop or your hand falls off and if I hear one word you will keep writing until both hands fall off.”
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
There was sniffing. And it slowed down. And then there was a little sigh. And the Mom guilt kicked in.
“Son? What does this verse mean to you?”
“I need to be kind to the girls and you and I need to not fight even when they fight me.”
“Do you think you can do that for the rest of the day?” Little nod. “How about for the rest of the week?” Smaller nod. “Is there any chance I can get the summer out of you?” He lifted his head and looked at me with “are you kidding me?” eyes.
“Mom, I sure will try but I can’t promise you that!”
Later in the day, there was some picking being directed his way and he looked at me and asked if the girls knew the verse. Their interest was piqued of course and they asked. Even though he had really only written it twice he rattled it off like he was Paul himself. Twice since then I have overheard, “Ephesians 4:32!!” yelled by different parties in an attempt to head off trouble.
I didn’t go about it right at all but I am pleased that the lesson seems to have taken root. Now I pray the long hot summer doesn’t burn it out.
Of course I had to try to figure out what MY lesson in this was – other than, “Your Bible isn’t a weapon.” But maybe that was EXACTLY the lesson. My Bible ISN’T a weapon. It can’t be used to drag people into submission. It can’t be used to manipulate other people’s behavior. It shouldn’t be used as a measuring rod for all the spiritual siblings. My Bible is my guidebook to dictate my relationship with God. He in turn will guide my relationship with others. And I have a feeling (based on some of my study) that when it all is said and done my Bible is actually a tool of love, guidance, and encouragement.
Is there correction in there? You bet your socks! But that is not mine to administer because I do not know another’s heart. Am I to hold siblings accountable to the word? Yes, but not in a military, legalistic way as represented by a weapon. Accountability is prayerful, loving and led by the Word – not imposed by the Word.
My other lesson was that I too needed to be tender-hearted and forgiving. Please note – not tender-headed. Obnoxious is not ok. But maybe writing Bible verses wasn’t the best discipline. Copying definitions out of the dictionary may be on the list followed by a Bible discussion.
And forgiving. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t struggle with forgiving my children. Other adults aren’t so easy but unless there is blood drawn I can usually forgive just about anything. My problem comes with expressing forgiveness. I assume my kids know I have forgiven them. It occurred to me that I need to tell them that. Sometimes because we can’t hear God say, “You are forgiven” we tend to hold on to hurts in our lives longer than we need to. We sometimes feel like it’s just too big for God to forgive. But it IS forgiven whether we heard the words or not. I don’t want my children to hold that. We need to express forgiveness to others – children and adults – whether they ask for it or not.
Jesus did it from the cross (Luke 23:34a). Surely we can do it from our spot.