Sunday, November 10, 2013

Learning the hard way

"he began to be in want"
Luke 15:14

When my children were very young, and we would go to the park, as they walked near the swings I would warn them about getting too close to kids who are swinging.  I explained that they were liable to get kicked if they were too close. 

But I only warned them a few times.  After that, I just let them learn the lesson.  You walk in front of a swing two or three times, and get kicked, and you're gonna remember.  And you're gonna say, "oh, that's why mom was telling me not to do that..."

I didn't tell them not to because I'm a mean mom who likes to stop my children from having fun.  And I didn't let them get kicked because I wanted them to be punished for disobeying me.  I warned them, and then let them find out the truth the hard way, because I love them, and I don't want them getting hurt. 

I thought about this today, after a discussion with a friend yesterday about all her daughter is going through.   Which is a lot.  And we talked about how some people seem to have one trial after another, while others seem to travel through life unscathed.   And I think maybe God knows what needs to happen in our lives, in order for Him to get through to us.  Some of us are harder-headed than others.

In Luke 15, in the account of the prodigal son,  the father gave the son over to what he wanted.  And the son found out the hard way that he had been wrong in his desire to live a life of fun and frolic.  He was cold, hungry and lonely.  But he came home and his father welcomed him.

God does not force us to obey.  He gives us the freedom to make choices, even in our minds and attitudes.  When we see that we have sinned ~ even in our thoughts, or our lack of faith ~ and acknowledge that to Him, He forgives.  Instantly and repeatedly. 

But we don't apologize for things we don't think are wrong.  So sometimes God lets us get hit in the head with the swing.  So that we'll learn. 

I don't know about you, but it's long been my prayer to learn fast

~ "When we were controlled by our old nature, 
sinful desires were at work within us,
and the law aroused these evil desires
that produced a harvest of sinful deeds,
resulting in death.
But now we have been released from the law,
for we died to it
and are no longer captive to its power. 
Now we can serve God...
in the new way of living in the Spirit." ~
Romans 7:5-6

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