Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting to Heaven by Chicken Nuggets and Fries

On Monday I (Marianne) took Daniel and Stephen to McDonald's for lunch. On the way home Daniel was lamenting that because Allan was in school, he didn't get any chicken nuggets. To remedy this he said, "Mommy, I'm going to save two of my chicken nuggets for Allan." I told him that was very thoughtful and a good way to love his brother. Then the conversation took a different turn.

"Mommy", he said, "if I share my nuggets with Allan will I go to heaven"?

"No, Daniel, you won't go to heaven for sharing your nuggets", I replied.

His eyes got big and in a loud voice he replied, "WHAT?!.....what if I give him two nuggets AND some fries?"

"No buddy, you won't go to heaven for sharing your nuggets and fries", I said.

"Then how do I get to heaven?" he questioned.

"Well, Daniel, how do you think you get to heaven?" I asked him.

"By loving and serving Jesus?" he asked questioningly.

"That's very important but no...not by loving and serving Jesus" I answered.

"By loving other people?"

"That's also something you should do but no, not by loving other people."

By this time he was wearing out so I told him, "Daniel, those things you mentioned are very good things. But God says in His word that for us to get to heaven, we have to ask Him to forgive our sins and accept His gift of salvation. That's the only way we can get into heaven. There are many people who think that if they do good then they get to go to heaven but that's not true. God tells us in His Word what we must do to get to heaven."

He was very relieved and said, "Oh good! I've already done that and now I'm loving and serving Jesus and I'm trying to love other people!"

Me: "Daniel, if you've asked God to forgive you of your sins, and you're loving and serving Him and loving others then you're doing everything necessary to get to heaven!"

Apart from a right relationship with God we cannot properly love Him nor love others. And I want my children to realize from a young age that we'll never be "good" enough to merit salvation - we have to accept Christ's atonement by faith.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sowing & Reaping Good Things

Allan and I had just finished helping Pop-pop and Gramme (my folks) replace their stove. We're on the way home, and I said to Allan ...

"Allan, do you know why I helped Pop-pop?"

Allan: "Because you love him."

Me: "That's true. But there's another reason."

Allan: "Honor your father and mother?"

Me: "That's another great reason why I'm helping my dad. But I was thinking of another reason."

Allan: "I don't know."

Me: "I'm sowing what I want to reap."

Now that reason wasn't immediately transparent so I explained that some day I'm going to be old and need Allan to help me. So, I'm sowing help to my Dad as his son, so I will reap help from my son.

That led to Gal. 6:7 "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap."

"You know, Allan, there are three laws of reaping.
1. You reap after you sow.
2. You reap what you sow.
3. You reap more than you sow."

... and I explained that with sowing green beans and then applied it to helping my Dad.

Perhaps it was on the heavy side, but I don't think teaching the laws of the harvest can be done too early. Nor do I think it always has to be in a negative context.

When you sow to the Spirit, you still reap after you sow, what you sow, and more than you sow!

What are some ways you've help teach your children the laws of reaping?

Restitution and a bank robbery

On the way to the store to buy bubble gum to make restitution for what had been stolen and eaten, Son Y was not satisfied that justice was being done.

"You're punishing me for something I didn't know was wrong," he said strongly.

Now I knew that he knew stealing was wrong, so I suggested, "What you mean is you didn't know you would have to make restitution if you stole the bubble gum, right?"

"Right! I shouldn't be punished twice for the same thing," he said with a frown.

Now, of course, I agree someone shouldn't be punished twice for their wrong. And, I'm also very sensitive to the biblical concern for justice. If there is anything Proverbs harps on besides wisdom, it's justice, righteousness, and equity (Prov. 1:3; 2:8-9; 8:15, 20; 11:1; 12:5; 16:11; 17:15, 23; 19:28; 20:8; 21:3, 7, 15; 28:5; 29:4, 26). Particularly, in authorities (Prov. 8:15; 20:8; 29:4).

How to help Son Y realize that I'm not double punishing him, and it is just for him to make restitution? ...

So I said: Son, that's like a man who robbed a bank telling the judge: "You can't sentence me to 5 years in prison!" When the judge asks why not, the man says, "I didn't know that robbing a bank carried a five year prison sentence. I thought I just had to give the money back."

To which the judge questioned: "Did you know it was wrong to rob the bank?" "Yes, I knew that." "Well, then, since you chose to do wrong, you have to suffer the consequences whether you knew what they were or not."

Son, since you knew it was wrong to steal, you have to take all the consequences of stealing, which includes restitution.

... silence ...

That must have made sense to him, since he doesn't give up his case easily. That was my best, on-the-fly shot at helping him understand that some sins have extended consequences.

Any ways you've helped your kids understand the justice of restitution?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bubble Gum, Repentance and Restitution

*Identities have been removed to protect the guilty.

Son X and Son Y both received two bubble gum balls on their last shopping trip. Son X ate only one of his pieces of bubble gum. Son Y ate both pieces.

At bedtime, Daddy helped Son X put his bubble gum ball on his dresser in a container so it wouldn't roll away.

The next day, Son X comes wailing to Mommy that his bubble gum is gone. Somebody ate my bubble gum! This is a catastrophe of monumental proportions!!

So, Detective Mommy sleuths out the culprit, who upon being confronted, confessed tearfully, "I didn't even enjoy eating it, because I knew it was wrong." Important lesson there!

Mommy reminds Son Y that Commandment 8 says, "You shall not steal." Taking bubble gum is stealing. So, following the administration of the 'board of learning' to the 'seat of education', Son Y comes to Son X and asks his forgiveness for eating his bubble gum: "I'm sorry for stealing your gum, please forgive me!" Son X forgives Son Y.

I received word of the sin, and approved the handling of the situation. ... until this morning!

I just sat down to read a bit of Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training by Lou Priolo and was struck by a caption in his chapter on Correcting with the Scriptures. The caption: Restitution.

It hit me: we didn't require Son Y to make restitution. That's important!

Scripture has a good bit to say about restitution. Numbers 5:6-8 establishes the basic principle -- restitution is 120% of the value of the item stolen (see also Lev. 6:5). Exodus 22:1-16 notes cases where restitution runs from 200% to 500%. Obviously, God takes stealing seriously!

So ... I'll be having a talk today with Son Y about restitution and what these verses mean for repaying stolen bubble gum. My plan is to require restitution of two bubble gum balls, since I can't see a feasible way to require 20% of a second bubble gum ball! :o)