Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rule Breakers

I'm not a mom of many rules. I have a few basic ones ... the kind that cover many of the typical crimes commented by children. My main rules are:

Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.
Obey your mother ... the first time you are told to do something.
If you wouldn't want Jesus to be with you, then don't do it.

Those 3 rules cover most everything ...

And yet, sometimes it doesn't. So I do have about 3 or 4 more specific rules, such as no food or drinks in the living room and inside toys stay inside while outside toys stay outside. Nothing major or hard to recall. Only, sometimes apparently, even that can be difficult.

Take for example, today's incident with Julia locking the boys out of the house and Joel busting through a window in his frantic attempts to get back inside. This business of locking each other out of the house started off innocently enough. It was a joke and everyone of them thought it was funny. It was a strange game they played Friday afternoon and evening, with lots of laughing.

By Saturday morning, the locking game was bringing frustration ... mostly to me because I found myself continually going to rescue some child who was locked outside and resorted to ringing the doorbell to be let back inside. Before lunch, I'd had enough. I told them all that this new game was OVER. No more locking people out of the house. Each of them nodded their heads and said "Yes, ma'am" to indicate that they understood fully this new rule.

Obviously not.

This morning, as I tried to clean up broken glass, Julia sat on her little chair and cried loudly because she had lost some privileges when she just "forgot" that I'd had said no more locking each other outside. My hard-hearted response was "Tough luck, sweetheart."

At least, with the door locking business, I knew who the guilty party actually was. Take my rule about no food or drinks in the living room as another example. This afternoon, I discovered 12 blueberries by my recliner, the remnants of a chocolate pop tart crumbled on the floor near the TV, a wrapper for a cheese stick on the couch and 4 glasses in various locations around the living room. It looked like my kids enjoyed a picnic in the living room while I enjoyed my Sunday afternoon nap. None of them was willing to fess up, either ... not that I'm surprised. However, you'd think that the guilty parties could have at the very least removed the evidence of their crime.

This evening, I was feeling rather put out with my 3 little rule breakers. I was tired of this part of parenting ... going over the same stuff over and over and over. Why is it that they can't keep up with 5 or 6 simple little rules? I was complaining to myself about this ... and that's when God reminded me of something.

God has just 10 simple rules for living. They aren't hard to remember. If I were given a test, I could probably remember them all. And yet, I break them all the time. I like to think that I don't ... but when I really start to examine my life, I'm pathetic about keeping those commandments. No other gods before me? I struggle with that one. I mean, is God really number one to me? Or do I allow other things, such as my computer time or hobbies, to consume all of my thoughts and energy ... giving to God just a measly 10 or 15 minutes at the end of my day?

Jealousy? Ohhh ... let's not talk about that. I see someone who has a new car or a new kitchen make-over or gets an exotic vacation and suddenly I'm turning green with envy.

I like to push these "little" sins to the back of my mind. I'm not such a bad person. I don't murder or sleep around. Or do I? The Bible says that if I look upon someone with anger in my heart it is just as if I have murdered them. Same thing with looking at a man with lust ... I might as well have hopped into bed with him for all that it matters. I don't particularly like those verses. It hits far too close to home for me!

Oh, yeah ... I'm just as bad about breaking rules as my children. I'm nothing but a low-down sinner, who can't even manage to follow ten simple rules without breaking one for an entire day.

Thankfully, there is a lot of hope for us rule-breakers. God is famous for his forgiving spirit. All I have to do is confess and asked for forgiveness. How easy is that?! God even helps me to repent and turn from my sin, but even when I "forget" and break the same old rule again and again, He is willing to forgive me each and every time. Amazing!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

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