Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Mom Look
3:09 p.m. Today's project was recalling a spectacularly embarrassing incident that cast a momentary shadow on my reputation as a Christian, a mother, and a leader at my kids' elementary school. I was reflecting on how our kids behave when we're not there to correct or warn them with a "mom look." Oddly, both of my daughters can conjure up that look, and neither one has children yet. Heidi doesn't even have a husband to practice on, but to her credit, she has perfected a similarly scary expression, the "teacher look," so close enough.
Future grandchildren by these girls of mine had better behave!
One sunny spring afternoon, I drove around a few corners to pick up my four younger kids at W.H. Taft Elementary School like I always did, and took my place in the curb line in front of the school with all of the other moms. As I pulled forward, what did I see but my four, Kriss, Heidi, Heather and Steven, kicking and smacking one another with their lunchpails! There had to be one hundred people present for this spectacle--students, parents, teachers and other staff members. I was mortified. As PTA president, head of the room mothers, and the outspoken Christian leader of the school's Moms in Touch prayer group, I virtually lived in a "glass house," with my kids' grades and behavior being surreptitiously watched day in and day out. Not a good witness!
Instead of allowing the older ones to help the younger two into the van as I normally would, I put it in "park," got out, and not-too--gently loaded them into the van myself. They certainly got an earful as we drove off, and lost their after school snack and playtime they usually enjoyed before starting their homework. Conflicting claims muddied the issue at the time, but Steve and I certainly addressed their behavior at our family devotions that night. They all apologized, confessed to disobedience and repented.
Proverbs 28:13 says, "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy." We were able to move on, with no loss of love or reputation, and my children are responsible, wonderful adults today. Furthermore, the memory makes me burst out laughing every time I picture it.
The Apostle Paul had the same problem with the baby Christians in Galatia, who were off onto a "works" doctrine that had them convinced, despite the fact that they were Gentiles with no Jewish background, that they needed to keep legalistic rituals from the Law of Moses in order to be "complete" Christians. Paul had founded and pastored that church no more than 5 years before. Now they were traveling a dangerous road, away from the simple message of the gospel: Jesus Christ died to save sinners!
So Paul had to write a very serious letter of correction to his "spiritual children" as any diligent parent would. "I am afraid for you," he says in Galatians 4:11, "lest I have labored for you in vain." So in this epistle, we have what Martin Luther called "the Magna Carta of Christian Liberty." In verse 11 of chapter 3, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4: "The just shall live by faith."
Because Christ has paid the price for the sin of mankind, and for your and my sins in particular, we can come to salvation by faith, no tasks or proof of worthiness required!
Our children may act up and embarrass us, and we must correct them. But none of that will make a bit of difference unless we teach them, and show them, Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.