It was the week to write a Mom’s Corner, but the Lord had not been revealing to me what He wanted me to write on. I presently have my scheduled writing time after my early morning devotions. This particular morning, I lingered in bed doing some extra praying before my scheduled prayer and Bible-reading time. I knew I had nothing yet to write and would spend my writing time praying. The basis for writing is prayer, so I was continuing to ask the Lord for His direction.
My time in Romans 8 that morning was so fruitful and encouraging that I felt strongly the Lord gave it to me for the Mom’s Corner. Let me share a verse I believe is especially applicable to us as homeschooling moms, and one that has personally helped me.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I wonder if this is how we, as homeschooling moms, live–with no condemnation. It seems so easy to fall into the trap of self-condemnation.
One of my personal areas of greatest struggle is with my attitude and voice. If I am involved in a task and one of the children interrupts me, it is natural for me to respond to them with a short tone and an edge of irritation in my voice. My heart’s desire is to do as Titus 2:4 says, “to love their children” in all my interactions with my children. Am I demonstrating love by being unhappy with a child who interrupts? Of course not! If the child was being rude in interrupting, he may need training or correcting, but that should still involve a neutral tone of voice, or a pleasant one.
When I fail, what do I think? Usually it is one of two things. I can follow the path of least resistance, and this is what goes through my mind, “There I go again. I was irritated over such a small thing. Won’t I ever learn to handle these little frustrations with gentleness and kindness? I am such a failure. I don’t ever change!” Self-condemnation, lots of it!
My other choice of thoughts comes from focusing on the Lord. These verses in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 have greatly changed my thinking and dealing with my sin. “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” While these verses may be dealing with salvation, I have found personal application in them to my walk as a believer.
My thoughts of guilt and self-condemnation are the “sorrow of the world” that worketh “death.” What benefit is there to my family, or to me, in those kinds of thoughts? Do they bring about change in my life? Do they encourage me to depend on the Lord Jesus Christ? Absolutely not! They actually keep my focus on myself and allow me to wallow in self-pity.
On the other hand, there is “sorrow to repentance.” This is the sorrow that is fruitful and productive. It puts these thoughts into my mind: “Lord, You are surely not pleased when my words do not show the fruit of Your Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. My irritation and anger is sin, Lord. I confess to You my wrongdoing and ask You to forgive me.” No condemnation!
What benefits are there to me and to my family with these thoughts? First, it is the reality of the joy of “no condemnation.” It is the truth of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Here is freedom and joy rather than guilt and self-pity. The Lord is freed to work in my heart. He is the One Who will do the changing in my life. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
I know that I am more able to love my family, if, when I sin, I confess and repent of it, and ask for the Lord’s help to overcome it, than when I head in the direction of “poor me, here I go again.” Confession and repentance relieves the burden of trying to be the one to bring about a change in this area of my life where I am prone to failure. I can’t do it anyway, but when my thoughts are wrong, it makes me feel like it is my responsibility.
How often does self-condemnation take this form in our thoughts? “I am ruining my children by this homeschooling. Look at what a bad example I am to them. They are learning all my negative traits and following in my areas of sin. I just don’t have the patience to deal with them twenty-four hours a day.”
Yes, there have been times I have thought these thoughts, although not for the past several years. Is this the way God would have us think? I am sure you would agree; it is not. If we are a bad example, we need to be confessing–never excusing or justifying–each incidence of sin in our lives before the Lord and our children. We must repent of it and prayerfully submit to the Lord. If we lack patience, we should look for the benefits the Lord has for our children and for us by allowing a “furnace” in which to learn patience. Can we ruin our children if we are following the Lord in obedience to what He has called us to do, and we are walking faithfully with Him? No, of course not!
All of the negative thoughts are self-focused. We have to set them aside and take them captive to the truth the Lord gives us in His Word. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
As I walk in the Lord’s path of “no condemnation,” my children learn how to deal with the sin in their lives. They see a humbled mother coming to them and confessing the irritation in her heart and the negative tone in her voice. There are no excuses, simply repentance. These children will battle sin throughout their lives. If I were ruining them, it would be from teaching them to look at self and feel self-condemnation for sin, rather than to look at the Lord, repent over sin, and be grateful for forgiveness. I would be failing my children by modeling worldly sorrow, rather than sorrow to repentance.
I challenge you to take a critical look at your heart and thoughts when you fail. What are you thinking? Is there self-condemnation, or are you confessing and repenting? Are you falling into self-pity, or are you experiencing the joy of walking with the Lord Jesus in “no condemnation”? May we encourage each other to not follow what comes naturally, but to walk in the truth the Lord has given us of “no condemnation.”