THE HEART OF A CHILD
“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 6:20 (ESV)
As a young child, my highest desire was to seek the approval and praise of adults. I cannot say this is an abnormal desire for children, but I’ve met many children who lacked any desire to make adults proud. There is always that one child among the group who kicks, screams, pushes, to divide and thwart every adult’s wishes? Yeah, that wasn’t me. I respected my parents’ wishes and wanted nothing more than to make them happy. Any circumstance in which my flesh overtook good judgment left me distraught for hurting my parents.
One sunny afternoon my twin sister Leslie, my accomplice and leader in all things fleshly, came to me and said we needed to make money and could do this by gathering all the change in our household. After that, she insisted, we would be rich! What child would say no to that offer? Surely not me! I had the opportunity of a lifetime to be richer than I would if I just played with dolls. So we began scouring our home in places we never knew existed. After what felt like a hard day’s work, approximately 30 minutes, we had two fistfuls of change each.
At that moment, as we were relishing in our newfound richness, our dad pulled into the driveway. As fast as we could, we sprinted out to see him and showed him our new riches, with pennies and nickels sliding between our thin fingers all over the driveway.
When we presented ourselves and told our story, I saw my dad’s expression change from happy to disappointment. In his bold and teaching tone he said, “Girls, you have stolen from your own home.” Our faces turned sour at this realization. Ultimately, we knew what we had done. With my head hung low, my heart broke alongside my father’s. He taught us not to steal from others. I knew that. Leslie knew that. And we let our desire overcome the commandments and teachings our father and mother had placed on our hearts. We forgot to reach to that place where good judgment lived, where it was instilled by a father who loved and cared for us. But even in that moment, my father was reaching toward me, re-teaching me, reminding me of that place where a Proverbs 6:20 mindset abides. “Keep your father’s commandments, and forsake not your mother’s teachings.”
This is what God does: in our moments of weak flesh, when we are proud of our carnal desires, our possessions, he reaches out to remind us to have a Proverbs 6:20 heart. He longs for us to reach back to Him with a repentant heart.