The discipline resulted from a series of small decisions made by my son... decisions to disobey my instructions over and over again while shopping. It became flat out rebellion and as the consequences escalated, his behavior remained the same. It was his will, not mommy's will. Trying to contain my frustration and wanting to speak life after being convicted about this earlier in the week, I decided to pray continually and ask God for His divine wisdom. And the consequence that popped into my head was extreme. I did NOT want my son to experience this consequence because I knew how hard it would be on both of us.
With a sad heart, I explained the consequence to my son. There were no more second chances. If he disobeyed one more time, this consequence would come into play. I asked if he understood. He said yes. Two minutes after we had this discussion, he disobeyed again. The consequence was given. Anger erupted in my son, which triggered another series of poor decisions. My heart was breaking. Parenting is tough.
When we arrived home, his broken heart was apparent. But there was no repentance in him yet. He was angry and in a final act of defiance, he chose to lock me out of the house as I gathered my things from the car. I attempted to open the door, discovered it was locked, and began to cry. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. My heart was already hurting because I knew the consequence was a tough one for my son to swallow, and the fact that he would lock me out when I love him so much and was hurting with him... it was too much for his momma's fragile heart. I demanded he unlock the door. He quickly obeyed. I sent him to his room and cried as I processed the events of the past hour.
What did I realize? That I couldn't control my son. I desperately wanted him to obey my instructions so he would NOT receive consequences. But no matter how much I WANTED him to obey, I couldn't FORCE him to obey. He got to choose his response. And he received the consequence for choice. Isn't it so hard to watch someone you love make poor decisions when you long for them to receive the blessing that comes from obedience?
Have you ever considered that God might experience these same feelings? Think about how His heart breaks when we choose to disobey because He knows we won't like the consequences. Consider the sorrow He feels as we experience the result of our disobedience. Ponder how He desperately wants us to obey, however, He lets us make our own decisions.
Can you imagine the pain that God feels when we lock Him out of our lives because we are mad or hurt or angry about our consequences... consequences that we chose when we decided to disobey? How much do you think it pierces God's heart as He watches us hurt?
And then the conviction came... how many times have I locked God out? How many times do I run away from His plans like Jonah did? Or make excuses like Moses, because who am I to do what God's asking me to do? Ouch! My son's actions today led to momma being convicted. Repentance is needed all around in the Snider house. And so I'm clinging to this verse today:
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
God forgives me completely when I humble myself and admit that I messed up... and God forgives you completely too when you humbly come before His throne and confess your mess. God doesn't expect perfection, but He does want us to apply 2 Chronicles 7:14:
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land
This grace of God... how He forgives me when I don't deserve it... it blows my mind! No wonder John penned 1 John 3:1!
1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Are you willing to repent when God convicts you? Have you locked God out because you're mad about the consequences you've received? Are you ready to unlock the door, just like my son did, so the One who loves you so much can come in? Do you believe that Jesus loves you... so much that He died on the cross and rose from the dead, all because He wants you to spend eternity in heaven with Him? Let this song, Come Away with Me by Jesus Culture, wash over you. Accept the invitation to open up your heart and let Jesus in. You won't regret it.