Do you ever feel like you’re talking to a brick wall? Does it ever seem as though your children just keep on doing the same thing over and over again – no matter how many times you’ve thought it was dealt with?
This past week, for me, seemed to be full of repetition…”Please don’t do that.”, “Pay attention.”, “Is your room clean?”, “Have you done your chores?”, “Stop fighting with each other.”, “Don’t talk back.”, and la piece de resistance – “It takes less time to do something right than to do it twice.”
Some days it seems that no matter what I do or say nobody is listening. No matter how hard I try to make everything come together at home, there is a ‘force’ (namely my family) determined to ensure that we never arrive at my goals.
This week, I found myself frustrated because everything seemed like such hard work. With a large family, concentrated time helping one means that I don’t have that time to help another – at least not at the same time. One evening, my husband came home as I was scolding one of our precious darlings (after having spent the WHOLE day helping one of the other little dears) and he said, “She can’t do it if you don’t help. She’s made mistakes and she needs you to go over this with her. The older ones didn’t do it all alone.” Well, if that didn’t bring me up short. What I wanted was for him to agree with me that they weren’t putting in the same amount of effort as I was. I wanted him to ‘take my side’ and defend me. I wanted him to make them work harder and get it right.
In the parable of the unmerciful servant, Matthew 18, verses 21 and 22 read like this,
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked,
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister
who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
If the Lord Jesus took the same attitude with me that I had been taking with my children, I would be in a lot of trouble! The intent of these verses is not seven times per person or even 490 (70 x 7) times per person RATHER the intent of this verse is 490 times per repeated offense minimum!
I have trouble with the first seven! I can hardly imagine how the perfect Lord Jesus can forgive me or have such immense patience with my growing pains as I struggle just to keep the bathroom clean. What an awesome picture of the type of parents we should be we have in the Lord. I don’t think there’s any mistake that the Lord described Himself as our father. If we set His example of parenting as our standard, then seventy times seven will barely even scratch the surface. Jesus forgave and taught and gave second and third chances. He didn’t shout and pout when things didn’t go His way. When others fell short of the mark, Jesus prayed,
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
No matter how egregious the offense, Jesus accepted people exactly as they were and then helped them become who God wanted them to be. I need to daily be reminded that seventy times seven is the very least I can offer my children and husband considering how much forgiveness and how many chances God has offered me.