In my last post, Should You Correct a Sinner, I tiptoed into the arena of sin. When we see someone we love making choices that we know aren’t in align with the Gospel, what are we to do?
About a year ago, I made an appointment with a certified sex addiction therapist. I needed her help because in my work (educating parents on how to effectively communicate and educate and safeguard their home to raise porn-resistant kids) I hear a lot of stories.
Sometimes, the stories of ADULT sexual misconduct get to me. I want to rage. I want to judge. I want to hate.
So I made the appointment.
I poured out my heart to the wise therapist. She listened. She nodded. And this is the gold she gave me:
When a person is caught in the web of sin, it is because something was lacking in their own life. When a person hurts another, it’s because they were hurt. We all act/react.
I sat with that a moment and asked her to clarify.
She said that no one chooses horrific behaviors on their own. They are always trying to fill the void.
I, of course, fought her a little bit on this. In the end, she won the fight.
Yes, there are those with massive disorders, but by and large, on average, everyone would choose good over evil. But their wounds can be too much sometimes.
I gave her the gory details of someone’s life, the shitty choices they had made, the way it had affected many. She said, “Yep, but look further. Look into that person’s history. What went on when he was two or four or six years old? What is he compensating for?”
That put another light on the subject.
She told me to stay in my lane, do good self-care and be mindful of the moment. Peace descends when we are living in the moment. Then we can love.
I give that to you as a gift….it cost me $150. But worth every penny.
Okay, now let’s apply that wisdom into our family unit.
Her point: people act out because of a wound.
And most wounds come from not feeling loved. Not feeling worthy. Not belonging.
I know I am getting stupid brave here, but let’s edge into the family unit. A child, our flesh and blood, is sinning. Horrifically. It hurts the heart. It numbs the mind. How to love when you know that’s not the best plan of action for your baby?
Well, first of all, teaching our child right from wrong is needed. Of course. They need guidance. There is both good and evil in the world. They need to be taught that.
But sometimes when we teach the LAW, we neglect the heart.
The law cannot perfect us.
The law cannot give life.
I know it seems like a paradox when you’re trying to raise moral children, but no one ever needed more RULES.
No one needs good manners on the outside and chaos on the inside.
What do we need?
Think about that.
What do you need?
What do your children need?
I am shaking right now.
I am shaking because the Gospel message is insanely crazy. It is almost unbelievable.
The GOD OF THE UNIVERSE created ME. He loved me into being. He knows how many hairs are upon this head. His love for me is deeper than any ocean and higher than the stars above the sky.
A part of me rebels from that kind of love. I know my sinful self.
Here’s the best part of the story:
He rescued me, like my personal Knight, my personal HERO. He left everything, His homeland, His palace, His throne, to come into the muck and save me, the one HE LOVES.
It’s better than any fairy tale.
Why? Because it is real.
The story is MY story.
And it’s yours.
We are radically sinful.
And radically loved.
THAT SHOULD ABSOLUTELY CHANGE ALL IN OUR PARENTING.
It should make us stop being so critical and so mean-hearted. It should make us dance with joy and feast on the presence of our children.
That sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? I have more good news.
Our children are transforming us.
Each and every mother in my realm has a child that makes them kind of crazy. I have a couple.
But guess what these children are to me? They are a mirror. When they do something that irks me, it’s because I.do.the.same.thing. In a different way, but I do the same sin.
Or did the same sin.
That means I have HEART WORK to do. I have to go into the trenches and find the wound. I see a therapist, or even better (and much cheaper, ha!) a group of two or three friends and a bottle of wine.
I spend time in Adoration.
I have to acknowledge my lack. My control issues. My mean heart. I have to go deeper, what’s it all about? I have to forgive, to accept and to love myself AS I AM. As Jesus loves me.
And I thought this parenting gig would be about diapers and playing peek-a-boo.
God is not done with me yet. He is using my children to GET ME DONE. And He is using YOUR CHILDREN to grow you, too.
Accept His radical, dazzling love.
Give His radical, dazzling love.
To the sinner.
And to the saint.
He’ll do the sorting.