As the staff and campers began to descend on the camp I have found that boys in my home were torn between wanting to be at the camp—-all the time—-to experience all the new things and meet all the new people— and at the same time maintain normalcy and a set agenda they’ve had for the past year.
But with all the changes, new faces, new schedules and routines, the boys have also had a hard time adjusting and knowing how to act. The resulting behavior has been, quite honestly, the worst ever, and we’ve sat through the most dramatic meltdowns we’ve ever had since I first brought the boys into my home. They’ve been horrible—-and my response has been worse.
Yesterday I got one of the boys alone and asked him why he had committed a litany of foolish things over the past week, and, exasperated, be blurted out, “I don’t know why I do those things!” And it’s true—-he does not. I don’t believe for a second that these boys plot to make their OCD dad angry—-in truth, I don’t think that they are thinking about anything when they do the dumb, dangerous, outrageous things that they do. They do it and then really don’t know why.
Paul said that same thing, in effect, in the book of Romans: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Paul was pretty mature and advanced in his walk with Christ when he wrote those words, so perhaps I need to be a bit more charitable when my boys do what they do—and perhaps all of us dealing with children need to remember the same.
But why did Paul, the boys and I do the things we did not want to do last week, last year or 2050 years ago? It is because of the struggle still going on within us all. Even though we’ve been born again, that struggle to do the right thing fights against the urge and temptation to do the wrong thing. Regeneration provides me with the option of living a life totally dedicated to Him—I have the tools, the manual the blueprint! But it’s not automatic, it does take dedication of my mind, heart, body and strength.
Yes, at my age I am aware of the areas where a I am weak and the need to build a hedge to protect my heart and mind from the the things that will produce garbage in my soul—but these boys have not learned that yet. I have come to understand that I am not as pure and holy as I would like folks to believe that I am—I know that I am twice as guilty as the worst criminal if I were held accountable for what I think! I know that at times I am powerless as I allow my temper, my frustration, the pressures of running my own business and ministry to rule my life rather than my Savior! Yes, I know this and I am disgusted at my own weakness and inadequacies!
But the point is that I do KNOW THIS—-but young boys and girls and those immature in their faith do not. And that’s why I have to be careful about judging them or casting them down for the perverse, unkind, selfish and rude things that they do. Truly, they don’t know why they do these things!
But getting back to me—and to those of us that do dumb things—-i.e. sin—why don’t we choose to stop? The power of the Holy Spirit within us does give us the ability to give up sin. We can stop being violent, we can give up bad language and screaming at our kids, we can turn away from dishonesty, unfaithfulness, etc. Yes, it is possible! But only when two things happen:
1. We stop blaming our past, our parents, our society, etc for our sins, and
2. Only when we stop thinking that our sins are somehow understandable and to be accepted and instead determine to hate the things we do that dishonor Jesus Christ.
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