Judge me if you must. I made a conscious decision to allow my son to get sun burned.
Some of you are likely as incensed about that as others are that I lathered known cancer causing agents on my other son from head to toe. From a spray bottle no less!
I am tired of fighting with my strong-willed child about every. single. thing.
And lately, he’s been calling my bluff. When I tell him he can’t do one thing or must do another, he simply says, “No, I don’t,” shrugs, and walks off.
And he is right.
Sorry Mamas, but it’s true.
Burned by Free Will
Our kids don’t have to do a single thing. Of course I want him to obey from a sense of love. I want him to be respectful and kind and pleasant. I can model appropriate behavior all day long (though admittedly I don’t always). I can tell him what he ought to do until I’m blue in the face. But I just can’t force him to be or do any of those things.
So rather than ruining a trip to the pool with a knock-down, drag-out fist-to-cuffs, I warned him of the dangers of sunburn and the increased likely hood of skin cancer from excessive unprotected sun exposure.
But I didn’t make him put any on.
I let him exercise his free will.
We went to the pool and had a delightful afternoon with a friend. Who’s children incidentally didn’t argue one bit about glopping on the goopy lotion before diving into the pool.
And he got burned.
Literally and figuratively.
He learned there are consequences for failing to do the right thing. He found out that his mama knows a thing or two. He discovered that exercising his free will could get him burned.
I doctored him up with lots of fluids and slathered his tender skin with soothing aloe. I hope in my tender, caring touch he saw that I had only wanted to protect him from this pain. But, nevertheless, he had to deal with the consequences of his actions. It was perhaps a more powerful lesson than time out or letter writing or push ups or any other manufactured punishment could ever teach.
It broke this Mama’s heart, but the lesson was priceless.
How many times has God’s Word told me what to do and I have stomped my feet and put my hands on my hips and told my Heavenly Father I could do what I wanted. He gave me free will, right? And I’ve insisted repeatedly that I would exercise it. Sometimes I felt like I got away with something, but more often than not my defiance eventually catches up to me and I find myself in a MESS.
God wants us to do what He’s told us to because we love Him, not just because He said so. He wants us to obey because we trust that He really does know what’s best for us. He knows there are always consequences for our stiff-necked willfulness. Even when we don’t get burned, our disobedience creates painful and tender places in our relationship with Him.
But He is always faithful to help ease our pain, if we let Him. He provided us with the healing balm of Gilead.
Jesus is the salve that soothes our scorched souls.
So, whatever you’re facing today – He is the answer. Whether it is the sting of past sin or the temptation to exercise free will or even your righteous judgment of my failed motherhood – Jesus’ love covers our sin and equips us to obey.
“If you love me, obey my commands.”
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Word of God Speak, Testimony Tuesday.