Several weeks ago, my husband began preaching through the book of Genesis. I must confess to you, I wasn't thrilled. While I didn't grow up in church, since becoming a Christian over 17 years ago, I have taught countless lessons and craft projects about creation and the fall of man to numerous preschoolers! What could be left to learn, right? Wrong!
I think it's interesting that when God told Adam and Eve that they had done wrong, Adam blamed Eve and she blamed the serpent. Neither wanted to acknowledge their sin - and neither sorry. Fast forward to chapter 4. Cain murders Abel because Abel's offering is pleasing to God and his isn't. When God tells Cain of his punishment, he is clearly upset over the punishment, but not repentant. God tells him he'll be a wanderer, yet he builds a city - and names it for his son. Disobeying God and keeping the glory for man instead of giving glory to God. Later, Cain's great great great grandson, Lamech killed two men. When he confessed his sin to his wives, he said, "If Cain's revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech's is seventy-seven fold." Lamech confessed his sin.
In my quiet time recently, God has revealed big truths in tiny bites. Today He layed it on thick! Am I truly repentant? Am I sorry for the sins I commit, or am I sorry I've been caught or sorry I'll be punished? When God reveals sin in my life, I usually let life's busyness be my excuse. I can't count the times I've thrown together unhealthy meals for my family at the last minute or put quiet time with God on the back burner because our family schedule filled up before I squeezed it in. What am I teaching my children through my disobedience? It's easy to see through the book of Genesis that unconfessed sin can become generational sin. Nothing would grieve my heart more than to know that I have stunted my children's growth in the Lord.
How many times have you heard a parent encourage their child to lie so they don't get in trouble? It happens, though I'm sure they wouldn't call it lying. It's deception nonetheless. Sometimes the consequences are too great for Mom and Dad to bear. If little Johnny admits that he vandalized cars in the school parking lot, he won't get to play football. If Sally tells Mary that she took her baby doll, Mary won't want to be her friend anymore. It sounds ridiculous, but it happens! While these are extremes, and most of us can never imagine allowing things like this to go on, we probably can imagine not grounding our four year old from television because it would mean I wouldn't have that 30 minutes during Dora to clean up the kitchen, or not taking away the Nintendo DS, because it keeps him quiet in the car on the way to Grandma's. When we allow half-hearted repentance to us without consequences, we're setting our kids up to half-heartedly obey God.
Please don't think this post is about my terrible, disobedient children - far from it. They're great! I couldn't ask for better kids! This is about me. I've given excuses to God time and time again, like 'I can't help it', 'I'm under too much pressure', 'we're so busy' and I'm sure God's favorite is 'You know how I am....' The problem is that God is never okay with an unrepentant heart.
While I can never perfect my walk with God, and I can't protect my kids from all sin, I can teach them to be repentant and graciously accept God's correction so He is glorified in their obedience.
The question is not if I sin or how often. Obviously I'm not perfect and never will be, but what kind of example am I setting when I know I'm sinning and refuse to stop, or let my day dictate my attitude instead of standing firm on the Word? Do I stop and call upon the name of the Lord?
God is continually sanding down the rough edges of my heart and molding me into who He wants me to be. It's my belief that, besides the Holy Spirit, there is no better tool for transforming the heart than that of a child entrusted to you. My heart's desire is to submit to Him fully in obedience, for my own sake - and the good of my kids.