"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Sobering, isn't it?
It is for me any way. My words fly out of my mouth like out of control darts, before I can reign them in. I hold the power to bless or curse with my words. I can build or break. It's all just words but those words can be so powerful - both for good and for evil.
Maybe it's just me, but when I'm tired it is even harder to keep my words in check. Not just physical tired but emotionally tired, mentally tired, spiritually tired ... it wears down my tiny inkling of self-control to nothing more than a pebble in the road as I fly over it like a mack truck. And being a mom? It's tiring. My words can condone or condemn the actions of the people around me - especially my children- in a moment, if I'm not careful to think about what I'm saying.
The actions of a cute three year old are pretty easy to condone. Come on, don't tell me you've never done it. The cutie pie of the family is jumping on the couch, after you've already told her not to. She knows she's wrong. You know she's wrong. And the audience of little people watching know she's wrong. Will Mom actually correct the little cutie? Will Mom just let her sail by with a 'don't do that honey' or will there be real consequences this time? I can't say that I'm perfectly consistent on this one. My older children would tell you the younger ones get away with everything. What can I say? They're probably right.
The actions of an almost thirteen year old? Not so easy to let slide. No number of sweet smiles and eyelash flutters can erase the kind of heart issues most teens are dealing with. But there is a distinct difference between condoning sinful behavior and condemning the person behind the behavior. A condemned person will start to believe that they're bad, evil, always wrong, worthless, stupid and so forth. A person that knows they're loved but understands that their actions are not condoned will hopefully see the error of their ways and try to change.
But can I tell you something?
It's hard to change when no one thinks you can.
That goes for children, teens, adults, your friends, your coworkers and you. If there is no one in your corner, cheering for you to make the right choice - the Godly choice - it's not impossible. But oh my, is it ever hard.
So I'm trying to condemn sin and sinful choices. I'm trying to hold up a banner of truth and righteousness. I'm trying to condemn harsh words and judgmental reactions. They should have known better is past tense. Holding their past choices over them, condemning everything about them is like saying that Jesus didn't die enough for them. He didn't do enough for that person, that child, that strong-willed teen to be forgiven. Because if He can forgive them, love them and welcome them into His Chosen - why can't we?
For my children, I'm trying to remind them regularly that life is a series of hard choices. From simple obedience to the big stuff - it's all choices. Will they choose to follow Jesus or will they just follow their own whim and fancy? I'm reminding them that no matter how easy it looks or fun it seems, God's way is the best way even if it's the hard way.
For myself, I'm trying to look past the exterior and see the person that God created. Maybe I can play a little part in helping a person realize that no matter what's in the past - God created them for a purpose, Jesus died and rose again to forgive their sins and the Holy Spirit is there always whispering, 'we can do this His Way together.'