Evie is becoming the hall monitor in our house. She's learning the rules, and she expects us all to follow them. If you don't, she'll tell you. You are not immune to her scrutiny, even if you are a neighbor, a random lady at the movies, or our Pastor at church.
This is what a typical day sounds like:
Put both hands on the steering wheel! You could get hurt.
Don't say "Hate," say "I don't like it," or "I don't care for it."
Be careful with scissors. Yo Gabba Gabba! says "Don't run with scissors!"
Don't say "Shoot."
Be careful in the street. There's danger!
Make sure you recycle those cans.
Save some of those tomatoes for Daddy. You have to share.
Be careful going down the stairs! You could fall!
Don't get that hot. You could get burned like Pinocchio got burned.
For Evie, everything is black or white. There are rules to follow, and you better not mess up. She's right, too - you should always keep both hands on the steering wheel, you should never say hate, you should share, you should recycle to take care of our planet. She gets so upset when I break one of these rules.
And then when I was falling asleep the other night, I remembered the Old Testament Challenge I participated in a few years ago. In one discussion, I said "I just don't get it! God tells them the rules and they break the rules. Then He tells them again, and they break them again. What's wrong with these people?" A smile played at the corner of my friend Ryan's mouth as he said "Kind of like now? Things haven't changed."
This is what I used to think being a Christian was all about - following a million rules. God tells you what to do, and you should do it. And those rule-breakers had better watch out! But I could never follow them all myself. While I judged others for what they did wrong, I had an even harder time letting go of my own baggage.
Being a parent has taught me that being a Christian is all about love. I don't love Evie any less when she misbehaves. When she's scared or troubled, even about something trivial, I don't shrug her off; in these moments I hold her closer and comfort her. The rules we have in our home are to keep her safe, not some kind of checklist to earn our love.
And so again, I'm thankful for the amazing love of my perfect Heavenly Father. Because He sent Jesus to take the punishment I rightly deserve, God doesn't keep track of my missteps. He's already let go of the baggage I hang on to. He's not paying attention to the rules, He just loves me.
As much as I love her, I'm glad Evie's not in charge of Eternity!
7 hours ago