When People “Do Wrong”
Imagine my 5 year-old son steals a candy bar while on a kindergarten field trip I’m chaperoning. I see it & remove the candy from his backpack without him knowing. I leave it in the store, and begin creating a plan to teach him a lesson and hold him accountable at the same time. I hatch the perfect plan. I know my son well, and am confident that my plan will work in a way that has his best interest at heart and will impact his future decision to never steal again. He returns to school to finish his school day and I head home to prepare for when he’ll arrive a few hours later. But there’s a hitch in my plan. I don’t realize that my neighbor was in the store & witnessed him stealing, but did not see me there. And when she sees him step off the school bus, she angrily goes out to meet him, yells at him for stealing, and spanks him. I am furious with her. It wasn’t her place to punish my son. I am his parent. I know his heart. I know exactly what he needs & how he learns best. I had a plan that was much better. It was creative and perfect. I saw what had happened. I wasn’t fooled. It was none of her business. This was between my son & I. She could argue, “But he stole! Stealing is wrong! It looked like he got away with it.”She could say that stealing is against the law, but more importantly, God says it’s a sin. These things are all true, and none of her business. This story might seem far-fetched, but we play the role of the neighbor every day, when we judge someone else: How they think, feel, or (most often) act. We justify our thoughts and feelings with our morals. While we may not tell them what they “ought” to do, we think it plenty, and might even gossip to others. But this doesn’t change the circumstance. It doesn’t change the other person. We can’t control the thoughts, feelings, or actions of others. But judging them will make us angry, frustrated, and bitter.
So why not choose thoughts that bring about love, empathy and compassion instead? God is their parent.He knows their heart.He knows exactly what they need.His plan is much better.He is incredibly creative at discipline.He sees all. Nothing gets by him. He isn’t fooled.He won’t give up on them.He’ll see the lesson through until it’s learned.It’s none of my business.I’m so glad we have a God who parents us each individually, based on who we are, how we learn best, and our hearts. Aren’t you?