Do you still like me?

"Time to get jammies on!" I yelled to me kids last night as we started to close out our night. Three of my four kids obeyed without question while one decided she had plans of her own. I asked her why she was choosing not to obey. She tried to make up every excuse why she didn't want to... and how she couldn't at that very moment. I quickly realized that because of her disobedience she was going to have a consequence. I told my daughter that her arguing and making excuses wasn't going to change the fact that she needed to obey when I told her to do something. I told her what her consequence for not obeying was going to be.

Her time of discipline was up, so I called her over and explained that I was disappointed that she chose to disobey and expected her to obey right away in the future. She quickly said she was sorry and I forgave her. We hugged and she went to put her pajamas on. I went about my business finishing the things I needed to get done so that I could go to bed. She returned with her jammies on and a note in hand. The note in big letters read "mom do you still like me?" I was taken back by her question and immediately thought that I forgave her and could almost no longer remember what had even happened. I thought to myself, why would she even think that? You see I had forgiven her and had already forgotten what had taken place minutes earlier. 

It started me thinking of how often we do the same thing to God. We sin, start making excuses for why we did it, why we had so many other things to do. Our excuses seem to justify disobeying what God has clearly told us to do or not to do. All of a sudden we are confused and hurt when the creator of the universe gives us a consequence for our disobedience. How much more does Jesus Christ the one who gave us life have the authority to say "No" "stop" or on the other side "GO," "do it." But somehow it's okay for us in our "all knowing" attitudes to argue and continuously justify our own disobedience. He is a loving God and a good Father and with that comes obedience on our part. Sometimes we want to justify saying "his grace" is enough to cover this act of defiance. Your right it is! That's what he did on the cross. He gave his life to cover those sins. The grace is already so amazing.

We come to a place of asking for forgiveness but sometimes forgetting there are unfortunate consequences for our actions. We seek forgiveness and pull out Psalms 103:12 " far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Cross our fingers, peek through one eye, take a deep breath and say thank you Lord move on.....

But wait....  sometimes we still have a consequence and when we realize that we come to God just as my daughter came to me and say "do you still like me?" We suddenly are still confused of the true character of God while we are reaping the reality of our disobedience. The sin is forgiven! But the consequence of that sin is still there.

I realized with my daughter that I love her and desire the best for her life, therefore  I must discipline her so that in the future she will stop, pause and remember to obey. I want her to recognize that she will always be submitted to the authority of someone. When it is no longer me there will be a boss, husband, teacher, pastor and ultimately God that will expect obedience from her.

Whether you decide to submit to the authority of God or not you will always be under the authority of someone. The love of God is something that even a parent cannot  compare to the love of their own children. Yet we still question "do you still like me, do you even love me?" 
Jeremiah 31:3 says " I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness." he loves you enough to discipline and keep on loving after and through it. 

Lord today help us to keep your commandments and to draw our hearts close to yours. When we question your love for us, help us to remember that you love us enough to want us to learn and and no longer sin. Remind us in the midst of our consequence that you are correcting us and still love us. Thank you Lord for the gift of being a parent! Thank you for the daily reminder in our children that we are yours. We can trust you God! You have established authority to benefit us and not to harm us. Thank you for loving us even when we blow it. You are a good Father and we can trust you!. --AMEN-

--Nicole Howes

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