We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

The Beating of Our Hearts

Sometimes, the smallest part of a machine can have the greatest significance. The Lord’s brother James understood this. He tells us in the third chapter of his letter that though large ships are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it too has the greatest influence in our lives-for good or bad.

For years my son Jonathan was parented by my voice. There were chores to do, actions to be corrected, lights to turn off (it bugged me if they left a room and left the lights on!), devotions to listen to and the list is quite endless. Now that I look back, looking through a different set of eyes, it doesn’t sound very fun to be a child. Trying to cultivate a work ethic, with good intentions, I placed responsibility above relationship-which always leads to frustration.

Then one day I came across Isaiah 40:11-“He tends his flock like a shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms, he carries them close to his heart, he gently leads those who have young.”

I read it again and again. My eyes were opening for the very first time to the needs of Jonathan’s heart. It was right there in black and white. Allow me to explain by first asking a question. Have you ever seen a picture of a shepherd carrying a lamb? Where does he carry the lamb? Correct-on his shoulders. But no shepherd that knows anything about lambs will ever carry a lamb on his shoulders. They are simply too afraid up there.

Isaiah teaches us that the shepherd carries the lamb in his arms close to his heart. Why? Because there, the lamb can hear the beating of the shepherd’s heart. That is what my son was longing for, but instead he heard the beating of my voice. It’s time, mom and dad, to silence our words and open our hearts as we draw our children close to let them hear the beating of our heart. A caring hug may be a good first step.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. My Jonathan’s name is Jacob. I too have been expecting him to do what I said, however he has been following my example as I have lost my temper and had too high of expectations for Jacob. Now at age 12 he has a bad attitude toward his parents, siblings, and others. How can I change to win Jacob’s heart and get him on a path towards God’s will for his life?

    • Humility, humility, humility…when you aren’t living up to the standards God has for us, admit it…humble yourself, and God will, in time, lift you up. Fenelon in his book, Education of a Child writes, “Don’t respond to a child in his first emotion or in your first emotion. If you respond in his first emotion, his heart will not be in a state to profit from your correction. If in your first emotion, he will see that you are governed in mood and impatience. Rather, correct your faults and let that serve as a model for him to correct his own. I highly recommend reading this book and the book, Families Where Grace is in Place…you can view them at http://www.lamplighter.net…understanding is everything and understanding primarily comes through seeing, hearing, or reading. In the OT book of Hosea 4:14, God writes, “A people without understanding shall be ruined.” Being a parent requires the same amount of study and tenacity that is required to become a doctor!

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