I was reminded of something yesterday by my 8 year old: doing right isn’t always easy! We were having a talk about her attitude and the way she had responded to the instructions I gave. Since those instructions went against what she wanted to do, she used her eyes (rolling), her body (shoulders slumping, arms crossing), and her head (leaning to the side) to say what she knew she couldn’t say with her mouth.
In the middle of our conversation, before her attitude changed, she said in a very frustrated voice, “You act like doing right is SO easy, but it’s NOT!” While I agreed with her that it isn’t easy to have the right reaction all the time, I also had to speak truth. The Bible doesn’t say that children should obey, when it is easy. It doesn’t say that they should be diligent and work hard, when the work is fun to do. It doesn’t say that they should live peaceably with their brothers and sisters, unless they are being really mean. There are no exceptions. The Bible simply says to obey, to work hard, to live peaceably.
I am not changing my expectation–that they do right–but I do want to change the way I view their sin. Because they are sinners, I should expect that I will get a sinful reaction sometimes. If I anticipate a wrong reaction, maybe I can remind them BEFORE they roll their eyes to keep self control over their actions. If they do react in sin, maybe it will help my approach to correction to be more gentle and patient.
Remember we are training them to become adults. We’re helping them along until they are mature enough to make the right choices on their own. Until then, let’s show them an example of the Lord’s longsuffering, and deal graciously with them.