Hebrews 12:10 [Fathers] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Daniel had a rough evening out on Sunday, topped off by cleaning the restaurant windows. (He gave me permission to share with you.) While the adults had a good chuckle, we have all been there as kids, this was no laughing matter for Daniel. He felt embarrassed and ticked at all of the adults. He wasn’t quite getting the point of the lesson.
The young waitress had waved off my request for Windex and paper towels, assuring us that she could handle the mess my kids had made. But the owner, overhearing my request, knew that I was wanting to teach my kids to respect other people’s property and to take responsibility for themselves. “Your not a mom,” she told the waitress “this is important.” She brought out the requested cleaning supplies and put my kids to work.
I asked Daniel why the owner should clean up after the mess he and Natalie made? His eyes widened as he looked at the window, and he no longer denied the evidence. His prints were everywhere. He and Natalie were just having fun, they weren’t thinking about causing someone else more work.
Most of Christianity is not a list of don’ts, in fact I’d argue that scripture teaches us to be gentle, kind, loving, and thoughtful to all we encounter. The children, certainly weren’t being bad, and this was not a sin issue. Windex moments are a chance for God to expand our compassion towards other and catch patterns in our lives that may lead to sin.
I still have Windex moments. Especially ,when my temper–I try to blame my Irish ancestors– gets the better of me. Like the waitress, I would be more than happy to let God or others clean up my mess, or let my lack of awareness slide. After all I didn’t mean to, or I was abused as a child so my actions are justified. But, gratefully God brings out the rag and Windex. He brings me into awareness and helps me to mature in faith.
Monday morning I came downstairs to see Daniel already up, Windex in hand, cleaning my patio windows, grinning from ear to ear. I am so grateful for Windex moments that teach us to better love others.
Parents Note: Next time I’ll try to save the chuckles for later.