Recently one of my boys said:
"I don't want to sin anymore for the rest of my life! I hope my brothers do the same so I don't have to retaliate."
Oh how I laughed!
The first sentence was said with such sincerity, such decisiveness. The second, was kind of mumbled, and a little resigned.
But what honesty from a seven year old. What insight. He knew that despite good intentions, ultimately when we are in relationship with others, we are unlikely to do things well all of the time. Even when we mean to. Want to.
Of course the bible is filled with people who exemplify this. Peter is my favourite. If we look for an example of 'rash' or 'inconsistent', he's our man. I love that when we read the bible we see all of the traits we dislike in ourselves, as well as the ones we desire. We see incredible failure in people's lives, and then the way God continues to be patient with them, forgive them, love them. And often, though not always, people respond in a way that gives us hope that we, too, might move closer to the potential God lays in us.
Back to Peter. He denied Jesus. Then wept bitterly. Then ran to the tomb to find it empty. Was asked by Jesus, in public, to care for his people. Became an incredible leader of the early church. Was given a vision, showing him that the good news about Jesus was for all people, not just Jews. But because he feared how he would be seen by the Jews, he avoided socialising with non-Jews and caused others to do the same! He yielded to the pressure to conform. But he did get his act together. Led in an incredible way. Oh, and wrote some of the bible.
What my boy said? I can echo that. I don't want to sin anymore for the rest of my life either. But each day, when I relate to people, even in my earliest interactions with my boys, I'm going to fail. In my thoughts, in my actions. I could give you a great example from this morning when one of my gorgeous sons attempted to make me a surprise coffee, but I don't have time, because I need to clean up the coffee granules that decorate my entire kitchen...
All going well though, tomorrow should be better than today. And in a week, I should have progressed further again. Never perfect, but trusting someone who is.
I believe what Peter wrote, when he said, "His divine power [His Holy Spirit] has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of of him [Jesus] who called us..." (2 Peter 1:3a) (emphasis mine).
Here's to a (more) godly life today. For us all. Less yielding to pressure from others to conform. And to rising above the impact of others on us. So that instead, we can be an encouragement to them, love them, regardless of how they behave.
Wonder how much retaliation will be 'necessary' amongst my boys today...
- Insight from seven year olds.
- Honesty about failure.
- Peter - the maturity he showed as he dealt with his failure.
- Surprise coffee granules all over the kitchen.
- Well-intentioned nine year old boy.
- A sweet gift from a special friend, belated for my birthday.
- Knowing that Tony is on a plane, coming home.
- Choosing coffee and conversations about God, over other, less important things.
- Watching my five year old skip.
- Rows of kisses with my youngest, and giggling when we get mixed up.
- Orphans, singing gorgeous praises.
- Waterslides, all day, with my boys.
- Acceptance into a 'Master in Counselling'.