As a parent I find myself saying the word NO often. I don’t like to say no, but with three kids running around our house I’m constantly on the watch to make sure they don’t break something or hurt someone.
The other day I caught myself saying NO too much. Every once in a while, I need to remind myself that my kids are just being kids. Drinks will spill, toys will be broken, and an occasional kid will cry from being pushed over. All in a day’s work for some kids!
When parenting and disciplining my children, I try to be aware of their motivations and intentions. Did he push his brother over by accident, or was he trying to see just how much pain he could inflict? Did that drink spill by accident, or was she trying to see how high she could launch her milk into the air? Many times, I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I just have to guess and pray I don’t screw my children up.
The other day I was reading Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 and 6, often called the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus always seems to up the standard. Jesus reminds us that we should not murder, but then adds that we also shouldn’t act in anger. Jesus shares that not only should we give to the needy, but we also should be careful that our motives are pure when giving. These are just a couple of the challenges Jesus lays before us in this teaching.
When I read Matthew 5 and 6, I don’t think Jesus is giving us a list of do’s and don’ts. I think He is getting to the core of our heart. And unlike the guessing game that is parenting, Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father can see the unseen…. He knows the motivations and intentions of our heart!
This is comforting and makes me uneasy at the same time! It makes me uneasy because I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything in my life with 100% pure motives. However, it’s comforting because I know the Heavenly Father isn’t trying to build up a case of all the wrongs I’ve done in my life. The Heavenly Father is trying to grow a relationship with me.
The best example I have of this is the relationship I experience daily with my three children. I love them simply because they are mine. I want to guide them in the ways that are best for them, and I desire to see their heart full of love…Yet, their daily activities cannot detract or add to my love for them.
I believe our Heavenly Father sees us the same. He knows our every move and He knows our every intention. He desires to guide in ways that are best for us and desires that our heart will be full of His love…Yet, our activities cannot detract or add to His love for us…He’s the perfect parent.
Our perfect and loving Heavenly Father isn’t trying to get us to be rule followers but is trying to shape our heart with His love!
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10