A Goldfish carton and the wrong Proverb

Yesterday morning I sat down to do my Proverbs study. The emphasis of the study is The Family Living From Proverbs. Yesterday the topic was The Source of Our Words. So I am meaning to look up Proverbs 16:2. I have my journal in hand, and I begin to copy….

Pride goes before destruction, a haughy spirit before a fall.

I start to process this proverb. And it really begins to speak to me. I realize that the origin of most of my sin is deeply rooted in PRIDE. The heartbeat of almost every act of disobedience in my children is PRIDE.

Then I realize this verse is actually Proverbs 16:18. It’s the wrong one….not even sited in my study. Oops. But it was exactly was God had for me.

One of the most profound things I have ever read on parenting came back to me when I read this verse. Get a pen….this is so good.

“Rebellion is actually pride put into action. Rebellious thoughts say, ‘I’m going to do what I want, no matter what God or anyone else says about it. Pride gets us into rebellion, and stubbornness is what keeps us there.”

Identifying and destroying the idols of pride and selfishness through prayer can often be the key to breaking a child’s rebellion.” – from The Power of a Praying Parent.

So when my little guys rebel against Brent’s or my authority…that is pride put into action.

Rebellion is Pride.

Pride is Idolatry (of self).

Idolatry is Sin.

Which brought me to my next realization. I am not doing something very important in my child rearing…..Pointing my children to their sin.

Sin by definition is missing the mark. To err. To miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour. To wander from the law of God. To violate God’s law.

It’s hard to confess and repent of sin if we don’t know we are sinning. By pointing my children to their sin….I can point them to the Cross and their need for forgiveness. Their need for Christ.

Do I point out their rebellion? Yes. Do I identify their inappropriate behavior? Yes. Do guide them in correcting it? Yes. But do I guide them to the root of their rebellion? No.

There is an extra VERY necessary step.

Let me give an example. Last night. Target. We were about to check out. Standing in line, Ethan spotted one of those little milk carton shaped boxes of Goldfish. Let me preface by saying…I had JUST bought him a huge pretzel at the deli and we had just eaten dinner before we got there.

“Mommy, can I have some Goldfish?”
“No, E. We just ate a pretzel.”
“But I still hungry!”
“No, buddy. You’ve had enough. Anyway we have a carton 12 times that size in the pantry at home. If you want some later you can have some of ours.”
Whining, screaming “NOOOOO! I want Goldfish! No. No. NOOOOO! I want Goldfish!”

All the way out of the store. All the way into the van. Screaming, kicking, whaling fit. A “stares and judgement from every customer in Target” fit. Nice.

So when we got to the van we had the “That behavior is inappropriate” conversation. We had the “Rule #1 is to Obey quickly and completely” conversation. But the conversation we did NOT have was arguably the most important.

You see, the heartbeat of his Goldfish fit was rooted in PRIDE. “I want, what I want, when I want it” – PRIDE. And pride is sin. Pride comes before a fall – or in this case…discipline. So not only do I want to point out to Ethan that he is disobeying our Family Rules….I want to call a spade a spade and tell him he is in Sin.

So, in love, I should have said, “Ethan. Screaming at mommy about the Goldfish is rebellion against my authority. Which is disobeying God’s rule to obey Mommy. That is sin in your heart, buddy…. “

Or something like that.

Pointing out the sin in my children’s lives would be an act of love, not cruelty. I would never yell at them, “You little Sinner!” No way. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

Here’s another reason I think pointing out sin is SO important. When I received Christ as a nine-year-old little girl, I was really motivated by fear to make that decision. This is what I heard…”Ask Jesus into your heart and you go to Heaven…If you don’t you go to the Fiery Pit of Hell.” Uh…I’ll pick Heaven. I had no real brokenness over my Sin – Because I couldn’t identify Sin. No one taught me. I knew enough to know I wasn’t “doing right” by God, but I wish someone could have taught me to identify sin in my own life. I’m betting I would have avoided a lot of heartache over the next fourteen years.

So fast forward to when Ethan really understands the Gospel for the first time. I pray he will be able to recognize the sin in his life. I pray he experiences brokenness.
Then reconciliation. Then healing.

“The opposite of rebellion is obedience, or walking in the will of God. Obedience brings great security and the confidence of knowing you’re where you’re supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to do. One of the first steps of obedience for children is to obey and honor their parents. This is something a child must be taught.

Rebellion will surface in your child at one time or another. Be ready to meet the challenge with prayer and the Word of God, along with correction, discipline and teaching.”

Lord, help our children identify and confront pride and rebellion. I pray they are willing to confess and repent. Make them uncomfortable with sin. Help my children know the beauty and simplicity of walking with a sweet and humble spirit in obedience and submission to you.
Power of a Praying Parent.

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