Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Extra Grace Required Week
I should've known as soon as I opened my mouth to a good friend and said, "You know, I think my son (who's almost 2) might actually be over the hump of defiance." It was a good week. He'd been super obedient. No fights over toys with his buddies. No tantrums when it was time to come inside. No hitting or tugging on his little sister. A SUPER week! But I'm learning that doesn't mean much in toddler time. Because this week...he has been an all out terror. Grabbing breakable things off the counter, pulling everything out of the pantry, pushing and hitting other kids, and today's latest...as I was frantically trying to get out the door to make it to my Wednesday morning Bible study (how ironic)...he proceeded to dump my freshly made hot cup of coffee onto the living room rug. I just about unleashed on him...then went off to study the Bible with a bunch of godly women. Ha! I'm taken aback by how different this week is from last week. Perhaps he's tired? Not feeling well? Not getting enough attention from me? Who knows. All I know is, this is an extra grace required week. It's hard for me not to get angry at him when he acts like this. It's hard to not take it out on him, either outwardly, by snapping at him, or passive aggressively, by giving him the silent treatment. This comes at an interesting time, when I've been reading through the Sermon on the Mount and see how Jesus challenges the crowd by saying, "You know that the Law says 'Do not murder', but I say, 'If anyone is angry towards his brother, he is committing murder in his heart.'" Do you hear how high of a standard that is? Jesus is saying that not only should we not murder, but that we should not be angry at anyone. And when we are angry towards someone, we are committing murder in our heart against them. Ouch. So basically, I am guilty of committing murder in my heart towards my own son. Yikes. But what a crazy, impossible standard! Who could live up to that? Who doesn't get angry? Even someone like Mother Teresa, as amazing as she was, was surely angry at "her brother" at some point in her life. So even she is guilty of committing murder in her heart? YES! So how can we ever live up to this standard? We CAN'T! And that's exactly the point. It's impossible. That's what Jesus was telling people, especially the Pharisees, the extremely religious ones, who thought they were "good enough" to get to God. He's challenging them to realize that even their best intentions are laced with evil motives. Even when we don't say what we're thinking, we feel things that are not pleasing to God, that are in direct opposition to God. Jesus was showing them (and us!) that it is flat out IMPOSSIBLE to be good enough to earn out way to God. Our hearts are full of malice and evil. Without Jesus, we are not God-honoring. We cannot please God. Only through the blood of Christ, only by His redeeming work on the cross, can we be made righteous and be acceptable to God. Jesus makes us acceptable. Jesus makes us clean. Jesus makes us righteous. So I am reminded this week...as my toddler tests me over and over again and my natural tendency is to react in anger...I will try to remember what Jesus did for me. I will try to remember that He bled and died on the cross, taking my place, being a perfect man and a perfect God, living a perfect life - something that I could never do - to provide a way for me to be in relationship with God, since I could never do it on my own. It is an opportunity to worship, to thank Jesus for saving me from my sin, to thank God for loving me despite of myself, to thank Him for being my Savior and remembering that I am nothing without Him!