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Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Your Kindness

 "It's Your Kindness That Leads Us To Repentance"..... Romans 2:4


As I was describing working with a child who has difficult behaviors, I was asked, "But what if they aren't sorry for what they have done?"  I was describing a process of bringing a child to your side, rocking them and talking about a behavior that is unacceptable.... I mentioned that the child would then be sorry, you could come up with ways together to do things differently, and then you move on.

The question was really a great question because we have had that happen before. 
But first off, I'd like to say that life is a process. Discipline is a process.... bringing a hurting child to wholeness is a process that may take the rest of their lives!

So with that in mind.  I think sometimes we can be really short sighted. There are books out there that demand a child be repentant, and if they aren't, you continue to punish them until they are.
To me, all that does is set a child up for being fake. They don't want to be punished again so they say they are sorry and they say what you want them to say.  Inside, they may be exploding with anger. Long term this is destructive!

On the other hand, when our little girls have had unrepentant hearts, we have asked to pray for them. I am not interested in false confessions, false sorrow or fake repentance and neither is God.

So, what have done, is let our child participate in  the discussion if they will, and then ask to pray for them.  I have prayed prayers such as, "Lord, please help Anna see that we love her so very much. Help her to know that we will never leave her. Please soften her heart so that she too can receive forgiveness and so that she can be loved.  Help her to see what the right path is for her life. Help her to know you.
Help her to come to you for forgiveness. Please take her heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh. And then, we would hug her, and that was it. 
This was a long process. We had a very hard hearted little girl.  But, eventually her heart began to change. She didn't always refuse to be sorrowful for disobedience like before, her heart began to soften and then, the day came where she came to us on her own and said, "Mama, I want my stone heart to be a heart of flesh. I want a soft heart." And the tears of repentance began to flow. 
This change came about over a period of a couple of years; and it was genuine, not forced.

As Mike and I were talking tonight, we found that there was a common word to describe how children need to be treated.  The word was Kindness.  We need to be KIND to our children.  Kindness is a word that has a certain feel to it for me.  I think we can sometimes be loving, or intend to be loving without being kind.  Kindness is a form of gentleness in both thought and action.
Here is the definition for Wikipedia:
Kindness is the act or the state of being kind —ie. marked by goodness and charitable behaviour, mild disposition, pleasantness, tenderness and concern for others. 
Isn't that a great definition?
We can look at that and ask ourselves: Am I being good, charitable, of mild disposition, pleasant and tender towards my child?  Many of our children's reactions to us, can happen when we are NOT doing the above.....
Why is it, we don't think we need to be as kind to our children as we are to a stranger? Why is the stranger more deserving of our gentle spirit than our own children?

Our own Heavenly Father is kind to us.... faithfully forgiving us, and bringing us to repentance through his tender, loving mercy and kindness.

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