This morning my son woke up early. He was just lounging in the living room half-awake as I was getting ready for work. As I went up to the room to say goodbye to my wife, I heard the bathroom door open, then the toilet flush. Next thing I saw was my son going straight to the living room and about to eat with his hands. “Wash your hands after you go to the toilet”, I reminded him.
Then things got weird. He didn’t want to wash his hands! I have no idea what was going in his little head, but he was so vehemently against washing his hands. I stood my ground and said, “Son, you have to, you don’t want to get germs in your tummy. You’ll get a tummy ache”. We went back and forth like that, and I was so dumbfounded why we were even having that exchange.
I went from asking, to pleading, to eventually commanding him. I thought, no matter how much I explain to him, at his age he can’t comprehend the reasons and consequences. He probably will not get sick if he doesn’t wash his hands today, but he needs to develop the habit – even if he doesn’t want to. I also needed him to learn to obey me, because there will be times when I will tell him to do something (for his safety, for example) and will need him to obey – and to obey right away.
Eventually, him grudgingly and crying, I washed his hands. He was still saying “I don’t want to”, and kept repeating “but why?” Then, almost as fast as it happened, he calmed down.
The reason I am writing this now is because of how much I can see similarities with my relationship with my son, with my relationship with my Heavenly Father..
- I disobey, and want my own way, many times for no logical or valid reason. It’s weird. I’m weird.
- I don’t always see the consequences of my actions, inaction, disobedience, etc. Especially if it is long-term. And even if it is explained to me, I would deny or disregard it. What’s wrong with me.
- God is patient, and He deals with me in stages. Not always gentle, not always harsh, but He will adjust according to my situation and the severity of the consequences.
- God desires for us to have a good and abundant life, and He knows far more than we do. If He has to personally guide us to obey, he will. And He did – through Jesus. And He still does – through the Holy Spirit. He is a hands-on Father.
- It’s all about love. Not once did I feel anger toward my son, even though my voice might have sounded angry. The whole time I was thinking about his well-being and how much I love him. Don’t misunderstand God’s discipline as anger. He is angry at sin, not at us.
- Our relationship is stronger after this. Maybe it’s a small thing, but it’s a step in the right direction.
As I was typing this, I got a voice message from my son (thanks to my wife of course). He said, “I’m sorry Daddy, I love you.” I sent a reply right away, “I love you too son”.
I’m sorry Lord, I love you..