Almost two weeks ago, two of our Hooties decided not to be very kind to another Hootie. One of them was the mastermind behind the action while the other did the action. Then they sat there watching their sibling be in fear and did NOTHING about it. I heard the one crying from inside and go flying out the back door to see one being mean to their sibling while the other just sat on a swing doing nothing...the reasoning...they thought the one crying was just whining. I was FURIOUS to see two of our kids treating their sibling this way.
I sent them both to their room with the understanding that they lost TV for two weeks...at a minimum...and when their dad got home there may be other punishments. Chris was in Richmond when I called to tell him what had happened, so he had two hours to think about their punishment. They stayed in their bedroom for two hours...only able to read books. When Chris got home, he talked to each one to find out all the details of what happened. The added punishments would be no TV, Wii or iPad time. He explained how he would put 14 lines on a piece of paper (they each had their own) and each morning he would either erase a line or add a line depending on how they treated those in our family. Once all the lines were gone, they could have TV, Wii and iPad privileges back.
Let me tell you...the last couple of weeks have been HARD!!! I didn't realize how much I depended on the TV, Wii and iPad in the afternoons while I cooked dinner or did some chores. Within the first couple of days, the Lord revealed to me that sin doesn't just effect the person who is doing it. There is definitely a ripple effect that happens when those closest to you sin. I must admit it was a tad easier at the beginning of the punishment to not have screen time, but by the end of last week I was begging Chris to let us "show some grace" to our kids and let them have their electronics back. I have to selfishly admit it wasn't because I wanted to teach them a lesson on grace, it was because I wanted to have some check-out time. I wanted them to be entertained while I got to do things I wanted to do. I am thankful that Chris saw my heart and encouraged me not to give in to my own selfishness.
This morning we got up and got ready for the day to have the power go out randomly. The neighbors across the street from us and the neighbors two doors down all had power, but not us. When the power went out, I began to dread our morning. I had planned to do some Christmas baking, but that obviously wasn't going to happen. I had a little bit of Christmas shopping left to do and bring back a couple of items, so I decided we would have a change in plans and run errands this morning.
After getting everyone bundled up in their winter jackets, we headed to Walmart to return my items and pick up a few things. While we were waiting in the return line, I noticed that there was a hot pink duct tape line to show where people needed to stand while waiting for their turn. A couple of the Hootie Hoos kept crossing over the line and disturbing the people who were being waited on. In that moment, the Lord began to speak to me.
I called the Hooties over to where the line was. I pointed out the line on the floor. I asked them if we were to think about God in relation to the line what might the line represent. One of the older ones shouted out "sin!" I told them that were absolutely correct. I asked that if the line represented sin does God want us to get as close to the line as possible without touching it or does He want us to stay a safe distance back. One of them said He would want us to stay back. I then asked if God wants us to stay away from sin because He is mean and controlling and wants us to have be miserable all of our life. Before I could give another option one of the Hooties shouted out that He wants us to stay away from sin because He loves us and wants to keep us safe. And from behind the counter one of the cashiers shouts, "Amen! Preach on!" Then on perfect cue one of the little ones jumps over the line and one of the older ones pulls them back behind the line. I kept the conversation going. I told them that what just happened was a perfect illustration. When we see someone we love commit a sin, we should be there to pull them back. I asked them what they could do to "pull" someone back away from sin. Some of their responses were "share the gospel"..."pray for them"..."read the Bible''..."love them like Jesus." My heart was FULL as I listened to their answers...as I listened to their hearts. In that moment, I thanked God for random power outage and change of plans. Part of me feels like we needed that illustration today as the Lord continues to fine tune me and reminds me that sin doesn't just effect the person doing it, but there is a ripple effect...it can very easily effect those closest to you. And just like sin doesn't just effect the person committing the sin, the person committing the sin shouldn't have to handle their sin problem on their own. We as disciples of Jesus should be ready to walk with them in love and truth.
As CHRISTmas approaches, I can't help but to be thankful that Jesus came to defeat our sins. He was willing to come as a baby so we don't have to handle sin on our own. My prayer is that as I continue to walk this journey that more and more each day I will live and love like Jesus does.
"I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When He served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good--not only yours, but the whole world's"
(1 John 1:1-2, the Message)