My son told me yesterday that the kid across the street is afraid of me. I was shocked. Why would he be afraid of me? I’ve only talked to him once since we’ve moved here and it was to invite his family over to our house for a Fourth of July celebration.
He then told me that the kid has heard me yelling from across the street. Mike immediately confirmed that he has also been across the street, talking to the neighbors, and has heard me.
I can’t tell you how incredibly sad this makes me.
Not because it’s not true, but because it is. I’m a yeller. I’ve been aware of it for a long time too. I just really thought I’ve been doing better.
I’m embarrassed too.
Oh my gosh, I look at myself and I think, yeah, I do all these great things. You do these great things to show people Jesus. You volunteer. You partner with lots of different not-for-profit organizations. You’re constantly in the church doing something, anything, everything. And then I think…
You know if you didn’t do all these great things, then you would just be another mother who yells at her kids. It wouldn’t be right, but it’s not unheard of. But because you do all these things, trying to live like Christ, it makes you worse than just another mother who yells at her kids. It like negates everything you’re trying to do!
I’m trying to be an example. I’m trying to be some sort of leader. I’m trying to point people to Jesus. And here I find my neighbors are afraid of me. It completely makes me question who I am and what do I think I’m doing.
I’ve heard lots of Christian clichés. God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. Or, being a Christian doesn’t make you sinless, but hopefully it makes you sin less.
But I don’t want to hear a clichés. I don’t want to be justified. I don’t want to be made to feel better. There is nothing righteous or holy about yelling at your kids. There is nothing redeeming about scaring your neighbors.
I will tell you though…it is humbling. That’s a good place to be.
It’s a good place to be reminded that you aren’t that great; that you don’t have it all together; that you’re really not that different from any other pagan sinner out there; that all your good works are still just filthy rags. Jesus is the only thing you got going for you.
Without Jesus, I am nothing. I am pathetic. I am a mess. And yet, Jesus never yells at me. He never scares me into submission. Even when I try my best to be worthy of Him, I screw up, and still his words convict, not condemn me.
Oh what a wretched person I am.
But I am a humbled, wretched person, I am.
Forgive me for what I have done. I want to speak life into my children. Teach me to be more like your Son, Jesus. I want to build them up, not tear them down. Teach me to convict, not to condemn. I want to learn and practice your ways, Lord. For who am I without you? I am nothing. I am infected and impure with sin. When I display my righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, I wither and fall, and my sins sweep me away like the wind (Isaiah 64:6). By your grace alone, I have been called your daughter. I want to serve you and bring you glory not because I have to, but because I want to. Thank you for loving me when I am unlovable. Please teach me to do the same. Amen.