This morning’s devotion with the kids was titled “Sitting with Jesus”; the companion Scripture was Psalm 63:1-7. So far, so good. The devotion was about a son who woke up and went to look for his mom. He found her sitting in her favorite chair, Bible in her lap, eyes closed, and he knew she was praying. She heard him, smiled, welcomed him and a discussion between them followed. When he asked her what she was praying about, she explained she was sitting with Jesus and that sometimes she simply liked to sit with him, think about how good he is, talk with him a little and just enjoy him. I’m still okay.
The devotion we’re using always ends with “How about you?” questions, and one of the statements in that section was “Jesus wants to be your best friend.” I always ask the kids questions about that day’s devotion and scripture, and today was no different. I simply asked “Is Jesus your best friend?” As you may guess, all of my kids chimed in “Yes.” You can imagine the shock when I said, “No, He isn’t!” Thomas immediately (and defensively) said, “Moooooom….yes, He is!” The other two just looked surprised. I again firmly said, “No…….He isn’t.” They looked at me like I was crazy.
In that moment I saw the inordinate amount of pressure we, as Christian parents, can place on our children–to SAY the “right” thing, regardless of whether or not they really believe it. We force them to live a lie, and thus begins an unhealthy pattern that will last until adulthood unless something intervenes (God’s grace…?) to break it. This isn’t just perpetuated in our homes, lip service can be reinforced in church, and if your kids are in a Christian school, there, too.
Somehow, espousing with your mouth one set of “beliefs”, when your heart (and actions) reflect another, inoculates you from…desensitizes you to…? the truth and REALITY of the gospel. In other words, you can live this life indefintiely expressing your “beliefs” without believing them, and not even realize the difference.
Am I making ANY sense here? I know I’m on a rant, and sometimes it’s difficult to express the full measure of what I’m thinking.
Anyway, I didn’t just leave my kids stunned, with their jaws dropped open. I explained that it was okay to say that Jesus wasn’t really your best friend, if he in fact, wasn’t…I told them they needed the FREEDOM to be honest about it….that I couldn’t HONESTLY say he was MY best friend because often he is not the FIRST person I go to when I’m sad or mad or happy or excited or hurt or frustrated or lonely or in need of counsel or grateful or WHATEVER. Sometimes I go to him as a last resort…and sometimes, not at all. That being said, I told them at least I wanted to want him to be my best friend. I wanted to be able truthfully to pray as David did, “My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You…”
I lived the lie and said a lot of things I didn’t truly believe for a long time. I’m realizing revelation comes in pieces, not in whole. Some of you have heard my dissertation on “Prescribed Faith,” but when the real thing invades your heart, there’s no denying the Truth…it DOES make you hungry for more!
Maybe I can’t protect my children from doing the same thing I did for so many years, but that’s not going to keep me from trying.