This is something that the Lord has been working in my heart for a while now. I didn’t really know how to express it, and I’m still not sure that my words are adequate. It first came to light when my husband pointed out my impatience with my children. It was the end of a long day, and they had disobeyed yet again. In disciplining them I was able to recount every little thing that they had done wrong that day. My husband said that he didn’t think I had truly forgiven them, even though they had asked for forgiveness after each discipline session that day. Love keeps no record of wrongs. So why had I failed to truly forgive them? Perhaps because it had been a while since I had mediated upon the forgiveness offered to me by the Lord. Every day. Many times a day. My own sin is overwhelming sometimes. How can I fall into that same sin, yet again? Why can’t I just obey the Lord? That forgiveness which He willingly and lovingly bestows each time I ask it cost Him a great price – His life. He willingly paid it in full at Calvary. When I lose sight of how much I have been forgiven, it is easy to get frustrated and impatience at the failings of others, especially my children.
Right now, I am to show them Christ. I am a picture of Him that they can see each day. How am I portraying Him? Am I showing my kids that our God is a loving, patient God who forgives us even when we have failed yet again?
Several scripture passages from my devotions over the last couple of months have solidified this truth in my heart. Today’s seemed to be the icing on the cake.
According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor un fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
2 Peter 1:3-9
In the first verses I am assured that I can be a partaker of the Divine Nature. That is exactly what I want – the essence of Christ living through me on a daily basis. In fact, everything I need for life and godliness is already provided through His power. Then verses 5-7 tell me what I must diligently do – growing my faith step by step. It takes work – it won’t happen overnight. But I think it will be worth the effort. Look at the list – faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
Each of those things would help me as I interact with my children. Sometimes I stop and listen to my voice and realize there wasn’t a lick of kindness in it, even as I reprimand my kids for not being kind to each other. Patience – oh how I need that! Sometimes I just can’t process all of the needs of my kids, which seem to come all at the same time. Sometimes I just don’t want to wait while my two year old does it himself. Sometimes I grow frustrated with my three year old’s disobedience. I need more patience. And love. That would go a long way in making discipline effective. It must be done with love if it is to get their heart, and not just their compliance.
But it is verse 9 that really seals it all together. If these character qualities of the life of Christ are not present in my life, then I am blind and forgetful. In fact, I have forgotten the most important event in my life – that I was purged from my old sins. How did I get saved? By Christ lovingly and freely offering me forgiveness, for all of my sins, past, present, and future. He knew I would sin again and offend His law. He knew I would fail. Yet He promised in 1 John 1:9 that when I come and confess, He will forgive me yet again. How can I not offer forgiveness to my own children for their petty offences, when Christ has so amazingly forgiven my sin?
It’s been a while since I read it, but Amy Carmichael has a book called If and it is full of simple yet profound statements that show how little I understand Calvary love.
If I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient unloving word, then I know
nothing of Calvary love.
If I can easily discuss the shortcomings of any; if I can speak in a casual way of
a child’s misdoings, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I want to know more of Calvary’s love. I want to realize more fully all that I have been forgiven. And I want to offer that forgiveness to others, so that I may point them to Christ who can completely forgive all their sin and give them all things for life and godliness, making them partakers of the Divine Nature.