Consequences. Who likes them? I mean really? When was the last time you said YES to a good ‘ole fashion spanking from your mom for doing something naughty? I’m going to tell you something right now…NO ONE likes them. Not at the time any way. The other day I had to follow through with a consequence to my 7-year old rule follower which allowed me to think about so much more…
In order to fully understand the depth of this situation, I think you have to understand a bit about this little boy. My son. You see, he is passionate. He is brilliant–detail and mechanically minded—to the tune of being able to tell you specific colors, patterns or numbers on anything! He’s critical. Sensitive. Competitive. Talkative. Sweet. Bossy (I think that might be an oldest child thing). And he is so amazingly compassionate when you get underneath the ‘I’m a tough guy’ exterior that it would make your head spin. Honestly, he’s so much like me it’s not even funny. So to say we butt heads from time to time is a fair statement…but after that head butting, we can pray, cry and hug it out like nobody’s business! What was I getting at again? Oh ya, consequences. Well this past week his bossiness came out in full effect which caused him to make a poor choice towards his sister. Long story short, he ended up storming up to his room (not because I told him to either) and SLAMMED the door. Now mind you, a few months ago I informed both of them that slamming doors will not be tolerated in this house (which came after a door slam from his sister during a different incident) and their bedroom door would be removed if it happened again. It is not how we deal with our anger—no. matter. what. It’s just one of those things in my book up there with hitting, yelling and name calling. Although I will say, name calling doesn’t quite make my skin crawl like the thought of the others…I guess I can tolerate a good ‘poopy head’ thrown around before the doors being slammed or someone being punched. Don’t ask me why. So, as I paced in the kitchen I thought to myself, CRAP! Hudson. Seriously?! For something so minor and avoidable, it turned into this…now I have to follow through because I know he knows better (his memory is like a vault) and because I know now is not the time to go back on what I said. I believe that would be more detrimental than following through with the consequences…if not now, then down the road. So out to the garage I went and calmly I walked upstairs to his room. Didn’t say a word. Started unscrewing and remembered that my husband so graciously forewarned me after the first door slam incident that IF I ever needed to take the door down, it is completely unnecessary to unscrew every hinge because you can just tap on the bottom of the pins and they will pop right out. Thank you, Justin. So you remember that sensitive and passionate part I told you about? Well, as I’m doing this Hudson is sobbing. Asking me why I’m doing that and that he didn’t mean to and is so sorry. “WHY? MOM! WHY?” I couldn’t even look at him, it made me so sad and heart broken to have to do this because I knew he was sorry. He’s my rule follower. The one who does everything in his power to make sure I’m not mad at him…at least not for very long. But, I knew he DID mean to—whether it be in the heat of anger or not. And I also knew he already knew why I was doing it. So I had no words. None. I just sat quietly attempting to get this job done while he calmed down. After a few minutes I’m beginning to wonder why this ‘tapping of the pins’ my husband told me about wasn’t so simple. It’s like Hudson knew what I was thinking and just needed to rub it in…”Mom, why is it taking so long?” Well buddy, that’s a goooooooood question. Tap, tap, tap…surely, I can do this I thought. It’s simple Keeley, keep it together. Obviously, it wasn’t that simple for me and Hudson could see that I was struggling. Do you remember that head spinning compassion I mentioned earlier? Well, he begins helping me. He holds the door up to make my job easier and so I wouldn’t hurt myself in this process. Really?! As he’s holding the door, sniffling and fighting back through his tears he looks at me with the saddest eyes and says, “Mom, I’m so sorry, would you please forgive me? And when you get done would you please come sit with me and snuggle?” Oh my. If I wasn’t already having a hard enough time following through with this, now it’s solidified. I’m breaking inside. My instant reply, “Buddy, I completely forgive you. And yes, let’s do that.”
As we sat and snuggled I realized that this was much more than just a huge lesson for him in understanding that I say what I mean and mean what I say, but for me as well. It showed me that this is exactly what God says to us. His word. His truth. He lays it all out there. We know not to lie. We know not to steal. Cheat. Idolize. Murder. Covet. Etc. Etc. We had laid it out there for our kids. They knew there would be consequences for slamming the door. Not because we have a list of rules for them to follow but because they made the mistake once…advised of the fact that what they did was not okay, and there would be a consequence if they did that again. And now, because they know it’s wrong, it has become an act of sheer disobedience and is not OKAY. Period. So what favor would I be doing them by not serving the consequence? How then, would they ever learn the pain of disobedience? Because as we get older, our consequences surely become much worse than your door being taken off its hinges. I truly believe God delivers us consequences when we deserve them—and I don’t know about you, but there are times I count my blessings and His grace for my repercussions not being any worse than they could have been! I know, just like Hudson, there have been many times I have gone against Gods word…….been disobedient to Him…….and then pay the price for it. Yet I have the nerve to cry, WHY? WHY GOD?! WHY? Only to then come to my senses, ask for forgiveness just as my son did, and then rest in His arms which gives me peace. Do you think God enjoys delivering consequences? I don’t. Because I know He loves me even more than I can love my own son…it pains Him more than it pains me. Yet, it is imperative I reap what I sow.
So why this? Why consequences? Simply put…because it’s not something people like to talk about. I’ve noticed something lately and that is many people like to walk around with their head in the sand. Myself included in that bunch for a very long time. I didn’t like to think about my choices—good or bad. I merely existed. Living my life for none other than me. Moi. Myself. Is that disobedience? Many might argue with me on this one, but the answer is yes. When we live life for ourselves, our consequences only get worse. It starts with simple things like getting your bedroom door taken off the hinges for slamming it…to speeding tickets…getting fired from a job…failed marriages…the list can go on and on and will get worse and worse. This I know from personal experience. But the biggest consequence we have to consider is the one that comes when we take our last breath. No one likes to think about it, but I challenge you today to do just that. Ask yourself, where do I stand with God? Better yet, close your eyes. Picture yourself standing before God and ask Him. What are my consequences for living for myself? Rarely, if ever, seeking your wisdom? What are my consequences for choosing my way and not yours? I guarantee if you are willing to listen, He will tell you.
I did. I asked Him for guidance regarding Hudson’s seemingly simple act of rebellion. And today, four days after the incident…God is telling me to extend my son the same grace which has been given to me. The same grace and mercy I have received for all of my acts of rebellion towards not only my parents, but towards HIM. The same gift of forgiveness that ultimately comes from the life, death and resurrection of HIS son. So today, I have a door to put back on its hinges and a son who will be reminded that he is not only loved, but forgiven.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…