It constantly amazes me how much we learn from our children. The Bible tells us in Matthew 21:16:
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
We are at Matt’s parents house this weekend for the 4th of July festivities and the kids are enjoying being spoiled and staying up way too late. This afternoon it was nap time for Ian, although he did not think a nap was a necessary action to be taking on this mini-vacation. Since the youngest was napping and we had help for the oldest, I told Ian we could lay down and nap together. He liked this idea until we crawled up in the bed and he realized I meant we are actually going to sleep not play for our time together. He proceeded to throw your usual 3-year-old temper fit and followed up with “I’m not ever going to snuggle my mommy ever!” I am sure I am not the only one who has a 3-year-old that says things like this right?
With his little arms crossed, brow furrowed over and the angriest face he could must…..he meant it for real this time! I looked at him with sad eyes and said, “Ian that just hurts my heart that you would say that. I love you so much that even if you never snuggle with me again, I still love you more than you know.”
He sat there for a few minutes pondering what had just transpired, and then he just started sobbing. He kept saying something to me but I just could not understand through the tears and weeping. I asked him 3 or 4 times to tell me again and just couldn’t get it. You know, as moms, we should be able to understand what “blahgrriavveiojdrew” means right?!? After a few attempts he finally caught his breath enough for me to decipher the phrase,
“Do you forgive me?”
My heart just sank once I realized what his little sweet heart was feeling. Do you forgive me Mommy for hurting your heart? I truly believe that he realized the actions his words had caused. I believe that he sat there and thought about it and started to feel convicted about his actions and words and that conviction brought him to tears begging the one he loves so very much for forgiveness.
I could not help but think of our Heavenly Father and how each day we hurt Him with our words, actions, thoughts, and carelessness. I think that Ian was genuinely convicted by the Holy Spirit of his wrong doings this afternoon. As a result of this conviction, Ian reacted the way that we all should when we realize we have done wrong against another person or our Heavenly Father. Why is it that it is only on rare occasion, if ever, that we are so broken by the actions we have taken against God that we are lead to a sobbing, snotty, and desperate cry,
“Lord……Do you forgive me?”.
The amazing truth is that He does forgive us! His act of coming to Earth as a man and dying on the cross for our sins was Him saying to us just what I said to Ian this afternoon, “Sweet child, I love you so much that no matter what you do or say against me I will always love you. I created you. And I have already forgiven you. You are my most precious possession. As long as you believe in me and call upon my name I am right here waiting to comfort and snuggle with you.” I believe that we do not react as genuinely to our forgiveness because we often try at lengths to ignore or push back the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives. John 16:8 (NEB) says,
“When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie. He will convict them of wrong…”
The first work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the conviction of sin. We come to accept Him as our Lord and Savior as a result of this conviction. The Bible shows us numerous times of Christ willingness to forgive our sins if we just come to Him.
“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
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;” Daniel 9:9
Reading verses from the Bible such as these should bring us to our knees, even our faces, before the almighty throne of God. In Ian’s 3 years of living Mommy is one of two people who are pretty much the world to him. To cause true hurt to her is like ripping a whole into him, he was devastated by what he had said. His emotions got the best of him (doesn’t this happen to all of us?) and he acted out of those emotions. The result was hurting the one that he loves. Ian was brought to his knees this afternoon over what he had done. Honestly, isn’t this the reaction we should have when we act wrongly against someone? Jesus says in Matthew 25:20,
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Ian reminded me of something today. I am forgiven. I am a “sinner saved by grace”. But that grace does not give me liberty to avoid the uncomfortable feeling that conviction brings. Oswald Chambers writes,
“Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God.”
If we are temples of the Spirit, His presence, His name in us will convict us, and others, of sin, thus we will feel more affinity towards those who, like us, long for more conviction, repentance, and the power of God to live a life that will stand the test of fire.
My prayer today is that I will dare to welcome the conviction of the Holy Spirit instead of trying to hide from it. For it is only by acknowledging those convictions that I will grow closer to Him in a process of sanctification. It is so easily said, “Lord, I want to be closer to You.” But do we really grasp what those words mean? Are we willing to fall on our faces before God, broken, crying out to him with that snotty, half winded, plea like Ian did? The good news is that we are forgiven! Jesus’s blood and grace has bridged that gap for us long before any of us were born. My prayer is that today, and always, that we will not take that grace for granted. I am a sinner saved by grace, but that does not mean I am exempt from the conviction and act of repentance of my sins. May we each live and walk humbly before our Gracious God being ever amazed and overwhelmed by His unrelenting love for us.