Sin in the Children; Sin in the Father

Recently, Teri and I were surprised when two of our boys did not seem to recognize something as sin. To us it was black and white, but they just couldn’t see it. How could that be? They had been taught the right things, yet their conclusion was wrong.

Last week God revealed what had happened. He convicted me that there was an area in my life of significant compromise. I couldn’t believe I had not seen it sooner, but God used a situation and a verse I had just read in my devotion to point it out. Then it was as if a giant spotlight was focused on it, and all doubt was removed. Ugh, I now had to deal with the situation.

While working to set right this area of deceit, I thought about Exodus 20:5, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” When I looked up “visiting,” it seemed to carry more than just the consequences of the sin, but the sin itself. When I rebel against God by choosing sin, I open the door for my children to embrace this sin as well. Now my secret sin is not so secret. Unfortunately, I have seen this demonstrated clearly in our family more times than I wish to think about.

As a way of getting our attention, God allows our sin to be visible in the lives of our children. How this gets my attention! I dislike the sin in my life so much, and then, when confronted with it in my children’s lives, it can be almost unbearable. What a gracious God we serve in that He will do whatever is necessary to prod us away from our sin.

How about you? What sins in your children are particularly annoying to you? Could it be that they are reflecting a sin in your life that hasn’t been dealt with? I have found it is extremely difficult to remove the sin from the life of my child before I have addressed it in my life.

1 Corinthians 11:28, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

Posted in: Dad's Corner

Dealing with Daily Pressures

The sticky note was titled, “Mom’s Pressure.” The following items were listed on it: wrapping Toni and Nettie’s gifts, making Anna’s Christmas dress, John’s phonics, meeting topic, Mom’s Corner, Christmas letter, more Sarah school help time, Christmas gifts, clean fridge, work on baby book, spelling bee, Gram’s puzzle, work on Sarah’s Christmas dress. These were things that I was feeling pressure about; things that needed to be done or decisions that needed to be made.

When I expressed to Steve that I was overwhelmed with what all had to be done, he encouraged me to make a list of these things so we could sit down together and figure them out. Just making the list helped greatly because I was no longer trying to keep track of all of them in my mind. The mountain didn’t look quite so high when it was written on a little sticky note.

Before Steve and I sat down to talk about the list, I had already eliminated cleaning the fridge, allotted Saturday night to wrap the presents that needed to be in the mail, decided to use my daily sewing time to work on Anna’s Christmas dress, put “as time permits” beside John’s phonics, and “don’t worry about it” next to needing more Sarah school help time.

As Steve and I talked about the other items, we were able to make some decisions. We also agreed to pray about the ones that had no clear leading at that point. No longer was I carrying a burden of pressure.

As homeschooling moms, with the task of running our households and getting school done each day, we easily fall prey to being overwhelmed by what we have to accomplish in a normal day, not to mention when “extras” come along. When we allow our minds to dwell on these burdens, we become discouraged and lose the joy and delight in following the path God has called us to. Not only does this affect our hearts, but also our husbands’ and children’s.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Could it be that when the yoke feels hard and the burden heavy, we are carrying a burden of responsibility that we have loaded on ourselves? Before I wrote down the list of what was pressure to me, I was feeling like I had to clean the refrigerator. When I evaluated my priorities, I realized I didn’t need to take on that project right before Christmas. It is now the middle of January, and I never did clean the refrigerator. It doesn’t look too bad! The spelling bee was Christopher’s project, not mine. I was involved in concern over it that I didn’t need to have.

Sometimes the burdens are there because we allow ourselves to worry about a situation rather than taking it to the Lord in prayer right away. Worry, anxiety, and pressure should all be signals to us that in some way we are not responding to the situation properly. Without the Lord’s help, the hard places will easily become burdens. We want to learn to cast all our anxiety on Him. I have often heard Elisabeth Elliot, the popular Christian writer and speaker, say she will get down on her knees in prayer to give worries to the Lord and do that as often as the worries return.

I don’t want my focus to be on the things that I think I need to accomplish. Then my eyes are essentially on myself, my agenda. My family will fall victim to my frantic push to get everything done. My “list” may grow shorter, but is it worth it if I am irritable with my children, won’t sit down to talk with my husband, or skip quiet time with the Lord?

I pray that our daily pressures, that never ending “to do” list, will help us learn what it means to serve a Savior whose yoke is easy and burden is light. May we see those “to do’s” as our service to the Lord, not as burdens. May they turn our eyes to Jesus, not put us into despair. May the Lord teach us how to truly rest in Him.