Last week, I posted about the lessons the Lord was teaching me about parenting with compassion. This week, I wanted to give you a practical look at how the Lord is working this out in my life.
Two verses have been echoing in my heart for the last several months: Hebrews 5:1-2, having compassion for sinners because I also sin; and James 1:20, knowing my wrath does not accomplish God’s work. One instance where I have seen God powerfully using these lessons in the life of my children is in the area of lying.
One of my children really struggles in this area. We’ve had many conversations on the sin of lying, that it is an abomination to God and what that means, etc. Yet the problem has persisted, particularly when this child faces consequences for another offense. It’s one of those areas where I could easily “justify” an angry response as righteous indignation. After all, God hates lying and so do I. But then I hear the echo of those verses through the Holy Spirit.
I listened. I changed my approach. I asked myself why this child wanted to lie, and that’s where I understood Hebrews 5:1-2 very deeply. My child wanted to hide the sin, to cover it up. Oh, how I understood that feeling. The shame and guilt and ugliness of sin—who doesn’t want to escape it? But escaping is not the real answer. Sin doesn’t hide well; it eats at you and leaves you desolate (Psalm 32). But oh, the sweet release of forgiveness! I know this. I’ve experienced both the guilt and devouring shame of sin as well as the relief of cleansing forgiveness.
Compassion, understanding that this child’s journey is the same as my own, allowed me to reach much deeper to the heart of the sin. A lesson on lying became a lesson of redemption, and this child understood the significance of the choice—will I lie, or will I confess the ugliness of my sin and embrace forgiveness?
And my heart was moved by the choices that I, too, face. Will I deny my own sins and run from God, or will I confess and embrace his forgiveness? A lesson for my child taught me, as well. And through my obedience, I got to see God’s grace at work—x 2!