Thursday, June 20, 2013

A tidbit from my house...

There's a heart of stone for ya...
     I rejoice that I have been blessed with a sensitive daughter...  she has, like every unregenerate person, the base programming of stubborn hardheartedness, but I think her naturally fearful disposition works with the biblical training we've tried to give her.  The result is what seems to be contrition over sin;  she doesn't understand the extent of our bent towards evil or our inability to overcome it, but she certainly does know when she's done wrong.
     I was lifting weights yesterday while watching a video on the computer (you have to fit it in sometime, right?);  I had scooted the chair back from the desk to make space in front of it.  It is a favorite game of in our house to race to the computer chair, and then fight over it, taunting the loser in good sport.  I think my daughter was trying to initiate this competition last night, but we have had several accidents with her playing with/tripping over my dumbbells...  I had to move the chair back to where I had put it.  She didn't like this, and as I bent down to get my weights, I could see her body language was indignant.  The next thing I felt was her little foot, lashing out at just the right height (with her in the chair and me bent over) to nail me exactly in the Adam's apple.
     Thankfully, she didn't hit me squarely;  her foot glanced off, so I was able to salvage some composure as I straightened up with a stern look on my face to inform her that we don't hit or kick people when we're mad. The guilt on her face (and I think shock) was plain, and I sent her over to her mother for her to confirm the inherent evil of violence motivated by anger (our "rough play" can get intense, so I wanted to stress the heart intent in this case).  The suitably scolded child then retreated outside.
     After about 5 minutes, I realized she was still in the back yard;  I glanced out there and beheld her in a classic pose of sullen gloom, squatting and clutching her knees.  I came up behind her and asked what she was thinking about.  She didn't respond, so I inquired more specifically, if she was thinking about hitting and kicking when we're mad.  She turned, and her face was distorted into tearful distress, the moisture just starting to flow.  I held her for a while for comfort, and then asked if she understood why we don't hit or kick when we're mad;  she shook her head side to side.  I started to recall the account of Cain and Abel, what happened to Cain when he failed to see his anger as sin and how we all have that in our hearts.
     I think it clicked with her... the next time she playfully was kicking me, I could see a moment of panic as she quickly apologized.  I explained that I knew she was just playing and that she wasn't mad.  But this isn't the end, as any parent knows:   just like a child, we all must be continually reminded of God 's truth and our sin and need for grace.  And even if she has some grasp of how horrible sin is to God, He must grant the elect His Spirit to regenerate them.  This is a distinction we must hold tenaciously:  there's no one we want to see converted more than our kids, and there's no one we can more easily delude with false assurance.
Both these pics were so good, I couldn't decide!
     There's some excellent works on the fine line between a depressed sinner and a contrite convert:  I would recommend Jonathan Edwards' The Religious Affections and Matthew Meade's The Almost Christian Discovered.  It's important to understand the doctrines of grace and cling to the perserverance of the elect.  But how do we know if someone's truly converted?  How sure can we be?  These are timeless and timely concerns, for folks of all ages.

Photos courtesy of gabork, Fergal Mac Eoinin

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