Today we had to deny one of our children the privilege of a much-anticipated activity due to several days of bad attitude, talking back and complaining when asked to do something. There were consequences along the way, of course, but today was a culmination of the sin and drastic measures had to be taken.
We held a family counsel and the case was presented before all, the offending child had a chance to say his piece and each member had a vote as to whether he would be allowed the privilege of the event. I watched the face of my disheartened son as he listened to the verdict of his siblings, and, of his parents. I was the first to cast the parental vote of "stay behind" and I must say, it broke my heart. I watched my groom's face as he struggled with which way he was going to go. I knew he wanted to take the boy but he also knew that he needed a natural consequence to finally see that every choice has a result - and it is up to you which result it will be. Choose WISELY my son, as Scripture says over and over. My poor man ... he looked like he would cry right along with our son. And then he said, "You need to stay." Case closed.
As I watched this unfold I kept thinking about the Lord and how he deals with us.
How many times do we disobey His commands? How often do we repeat the same sin? How often do we cause Him to shake His head as if to say, "Really, Michelle? I thought we had grown past that." Time and again the Lord must deal with me. Sometimes the consequences are immediate. Sometimes painful. Sometimes they come later, when least expected. Sometimes they affect others.
How I must grieve His heart when I choose to follow my selfish ways. When I hold on to control rather than surrendering. Lord, forgive me.
I came out of my reverie in time to hear my husband say, "Come here, son." The boy slowly walked over to his father with head down, ashamed to look in his eyes. Dennis turned his chin up, looked him in the eye and said, "I love you. It breaks my heart to have to leave you here but it is the right thing to do. You have to learn that you cannot whine and complain and show disrespect just because you do not get your way. We will miss you."
And isn't that exactly what God does with us?
Regardless of the 1st time or the 39th time, the Lord sits quietly, patiently waiting for us to "Come". He looks us in the eye and says, "I love you. And because I love you, I must discipline you. But still, you are my child and I want to be restored to you. I want you with me. Forever."
How great is our God.
A picture of discipline and a picture of love were seen in my home tonight. It is a picture I will never forget and a picture I need to look at continuously so I can remind myself that the Love of the Father is indeed, an unconditional and everlasting love.