Day in and day out there are tasks to be accomplished. There are little (and big) jobs required to run a household, train children, love my family, work with homeshcoolers and interact with friends and neighbours.
I try to get the things done that I believe I am responsible for. Most of the time, I try to do my best. Of course, I do not always succeed, but it is important to me to try.
Right now, just this morning, one of my teenagers challenged my understanding – almost to its limits. This bright, capable young man receives multitudes of praise whenever he is involved with other people. He is smart and handsome and gifted in so many ways. So why, oh why, when he is asked to tidy up the family room do I find the mess tucked away… under the couch and behind the tv?
He honoured the letter of the law and ‘tidied’ up the room. But the spirit of the law, which is love and respect for his family and our things seemed to have gotten lost in the translation.
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
After asking him a couple of times to return and complete the task properly, I spotted him headed to the showers. I quickly
double triple checked the job and called him back. “Why?” I questioned in desperate frustration. “Why won’t you put the effort into this job that you will when you do jobs for others?” “I don’t have an answer.” was the sullen reply. Praying for wisdom as I went, we had a conversation about the state of the heart… his heart. “I know we all struggle with doing things that we don’t want to do – BUT being faithful in those things is a reflection of where our hearts are with the Lord.”
We discussed motivation and accountibility. We discussed the danger of falling away from the Lord as our hearts become cold. We recalled how his father and I could discipline him when he was a child but agreed that those methods just weren’t appropriate now. The heart of the matter now is ‘where is his heart’.
We all know people who lack self control and seem to focus so much on self that deep relationships seem an impossibility. As we examined a couple of these, I asked my man-child if he would like to be compared to one of these. A look of rejection covered his face as he asserted that he most definitely would not want that reputation. “So why are you choosing that behaviour?” I queried. I explained to him that I was not trying to punish him but that in rebuking him, I was trying to train him to love and grow as the Lord instructed.
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”