Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching."
I'm not sure if I have admitted this before, but I can get a bit impatient while driving and have made a bit of frustration show, forgetting the kids can hear me from the backseat. Here's a sample of what you might hear:
"Great googly moogly, are you kidding me? Can you GO any slower, please? UGH!"
Sad to say, not very godly or ladylike. Then when you hear one of the children yell from the back, "You tell 'em, mama!" you humble yourself and apologize. When we are wrong, we must put all authoritative pride aside and teach our children the correct thing to do.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to show the correct way to handle a particular situation, by example. We went to the store to return something and found that it was extremely crowded with last minute Christmas shoppers. We finally found a parking spot about halfway down the lane that was about to become available. Apparently, a lady coming in the opposite direction didn't see us there already waiting so she turned her blinker on as well. My husband waited as the driver in the parking spot backed out to leave and I was wondering, "Did this lady seriously not see we were already here?" I told my husband, "Let's just go and let her have it. We're not going to fight for it."
Sure enough, before the car was completely out of the parking spot, the lady in the opposite direction inched closer and took the spot. I wasn't happy. I was disappointed that she wouldn't care. The holiday rush can make people be so unkind.
We drove to the front, and wouldn't you know it, we got the very FIRST parking spot. Yes! I must admit, I looked back, hoping the other driver had seen (again, not very godly), but I was glad I was able to share that with the children. I told them, "Did you see what happened? When we choose to let certain things go, even though the other person might be wrong, we can be blessed with something better, or simply save ourselves the hassle of dealing with anger, difficult people, and setting bad examples."
It was a lesson for me too. I can't always take matters into my own hands; especially if the issue isn't that important. Choosing not to react in certain situations has emotional advantages, which are priceless!
Showing the same kind of godliness in the home that we show outside our homes can be more challenging than anything. At home we are comfortable, in our natural, usual surroundings. We can be quicker to raise our voices if the children are not on their best behavior. But would we do it in public? Why not? Do we ever see other ladies yelling at their kids in public and think to ourselves, "That's terrible! I'd never do that to my children." But then, do we? Do our families know us one way in public and another at home? That, my friend, can be hypocrisy and it happens to us all.
The hypocrisy doesn't stop there either. I limit the kids' sugar intake and I've been caught by them, countless times, sneaking a bite of bread or something. I suppose the "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude isn't appropriate in this area either.
What, then, is the cure for hypocrisy? For me, it has been remembering the greatest commandment: "Love the Lord, your God, with all your heat, all your soul, and all your mind (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)."
If I meditate on God's love and remain in awe and adoration of Him, I am more likely to remain humble and pursue righteousness, in public and private. It will become my nature to be intentionally holy as He is holy, even when no one is around to witness it.
I'm sure we've all noticed how fast time goes by. Our kids grow up in the blink of an eye, it seems.
Are we using that small time frame to instill in them, through our example, godly living? Are we teaching them the commandments and then turning around and buying them pirate copies of movies because they're cheaper and not available outside the theater yet? Are we hoping Sunday school does our job for us?
Are we getting intoxicated or gossiping in their presence?
Are we greedy or unkind?
Then after our fine examples of "godly living," do we get upset when our kids follow our footsteps? Many times, they do follow. Let's be humble and fair in our evaluation of ourselves.
God has placed the privilege and responsibility on OUR shoulders to raise up our kids in the way they should go. I've heard it said that parenting doesn't come with a manual. I strongly disagree. Our life manual, instruction, and guidance, is the Word itself.
Even if we do not have children of our own, we are influencing someone else's. Most of us have other children in our circle of influence. These opportunities should not be wasted. The next generation of the body of Christ needs guidance, discipline, consistency, structure, examples, consequences, and commitment from us.
As our Heavenly Father, God Almighty can be trusted and is our example to follow. Why? Not only because He is the Creator and King, but also because we have the assurance that He doesn't change. Ever. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Are we sending our children mixed messages with the contradictory way in which we behave, speak, preach, believe ,discipline, and treat others? Surely, it is not what we want. Good news: today is a new day and God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).
It's not too late and the time is always now, because NOW, is all we have.