This past week I was feeling overwhelmed by sin. Sin that I see in my own heart and actions. Sin that is causing my friends to suffer. And even sin in the heart of my own child.
When I first became a parent, I never realized how hurtful the seemingly insignificant acts of my child could be. By insignificant I mean something as small as telling my daughter not to unplug the phone charger from the wall.
From the first time she had ever tried, I told my now 18 month old daughter, Abigail, countless times in countless ways not to mess with wall sockets and the various items we plug into them. She is at the point now where she rarely messes with them – except when she thinks I am not looking.
This past week I had walked in on her unplugging our phone charger. I was upset, not because my phone was plugged in – it wasn’t, or because she was going to hurt herself – she probably wasn’t, but because of the countless times she has been told not to mess with the wall socket. So insignificant, but so painful.
Abigail knows not to touch the wall socket. I know this is true because when she is doing so and notices me coming into the room she immediately runs away from it, acting like nothing happened. This hurts me as a father. As her father, I want Abigail to love me. I want her to care enough about daddy, respect daddy, and honor daddy so much that she would never want to do anything to make me feel otherwise – unloved, disrespected, or dishonored.
But this week I caught her messing with the wall socket. I turned her around, and gently explained to her that she knows that she is not to do so. She immediately screamed “NO!” at me and turned to mess with it some more. Calling to her to stop, I asked her why she was disobeying daddy. She screamed some more and continued to disobey. I was immediately deeply hurt, feeling unloved, disrespected, and dishonored. Why did my daughter not love me enough to obey my loving command? Didn’t she know that I loved her? Didn’t she love me?
“Abigail, why are you so bent on disobeying daddy right now? You are supposed to love daddy. Daddy loves you and wants you to obey from the heart. Why do you continue to disobey me?” I cried as I reached to remove her from the temptation.
As I said this, I realized my own sin and I thought of the pain that my Father must feel when I disobey him, even over seemingly insignificant things. I thought of the way that I often begrudgingly ‘obey,’ not from the heart with a desire to love God, but out of a sheer desire to not receive consequences.
That I might obey from a joyful heart that loves my Father and hates my own pride and sin. That my children might do the same – not just with me, but with their God. And may their children after them.
Our Father is a God of patience. Forbearance. Steadfast love. He has adopted us into his family and is bent on seeing us obey from the heart. For our good and his glory. I like being a father.