Words lash. They find their mark. Sting. Volley returned. Another wound. So why do we fuss and fight?
Children learn early how to argue, fume, defend, and retaliate.
I listened quietly in the kitchen as I swept the floor. They fought over bathroom cleaners, each wanting to begin Saturday morning chores, each one wanting to clean their assigned bathroom (all on different floors) first. Tears and scrambling. Still I waited...as a mother waits. I hoped they would come to resolution, peacefully before the need arose for me to intervene.
They didn't. Voices raised until there was a physical tussle. My husband got there first. Perhaps he had been listening too or maybe he heard only the final crisis. He didn't gather stories this time. Each was sent to their bathroom, one with broom and dust pan, one with toilet bowl brush and cleaner and, one with mirror spray and a rag.
I could still hear whimpering from the main floor bathroom, but all else was quiet.
I went about my tasks, finishing sweeping the floor and making salad dressing for the evening meal, praying for these children to have kind, repentant hearts. I thought a lot about the human condition. We want things our way, to serve ourselves first. It's not just my children, I am guilty too.
I thought of the verses that have come to mean so much to me over the past several months. Before the people of Israel were about to enter the promised land, God wants to bless them in the land where they are entering to possess it. God says,
"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 NASV
It is natural for us to want to do things our way. It is easy to give in to the desire to be first, to have the last word, to retaliate, defend, argue, and to want all the cleaners so we can get our chore done first. I'm trying to teach the children, implore them, show them that it is hard to choose the unnatural way, to choose the way of Christ. I'm learning too.
Christ wants us to return good for evil not evil for evil. He wants us to choose to be gentle, kind, compassionate, humble, and patient. He wants us to esteem others higher than ourselves. That is not the natural way. Only with Christ, can we do this.
God invites us to choose life!
Earlier in the week I found another invitation in the Psalms. It comes with a promise.
"O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; For those who fear Him, there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing." Psalm 34:8-10 NASV
We, who seek the Lord, shall not be in want of any good thing. Good things and blessings come when we choose the way of our Lord.
God had to remind the Israelites to choose life, He invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good. He reminds us also why He sent His son. Jesus says,
"The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly." John 10:10 NASV
Heavenly Father, help us to live the abundant life that You desire us to have. O Lord, help us to taste and see that You are good today. Help us to see the vast array of choices before us and when life and death are before us, help us to choose life. Choosing life for me means to slow down to experience more - more of You, more of those You gave me to love. Choosing life for me means to do whatever is necessary to give my best to those You gave me to serve.
Lord help each of us to understand what it means to, Choose life!