This morning, I had a confrontation with one of my daughters. It wasn't anything dramatic, but it was a recurring problem that we have had with this particular daughter. She lied. As most adults (hopefully) know by now, telling a lie means that you have to KEEP telling lies in order to facilitate the original lie. Like I said, this isn't our first time around this bend with this particular daughter. Honesty and truth, I imagine, are like any other boundary that children stumble upon and feel the urge to test the limits of. So, that is what I assume we are going through.
In trying to convince my daughter to tell me the truth this morning, I explained that she was breaking fellowship with me by lying to me. I explained that the Lord knew the truth and that nothing went on under the sun without His knowledge. She sat stone-faced, declaring her innocence. Although she is testing the limits of trust and honesty, the Lord did not bless her with a good poker face. Finally, I explained that I WOULD eventually find out what she has done and that with each additional lie, her consequences were rising. It was then that she confessed.
As I spoke with Nathan about the consequences she needed, we agreed that the consequences needed to demonstrate to her, if even in a very small way, what it felt like to have broken fellowship and the disappointment and pain that comes with it. We decided that it was time for her to lose a webkin; not for a day or a week, but forever.
I sat her down and explained all of this to her. She had a very sad look on her face, but went and picked out one of her three webkinz to give up; her lil' pig, "Oinky". I don't think she realized what "forever" meant until I took her to the computer to remove the webkinz pet from her account. Then she became hysterical. She wasn't throwing a fit, but she had quite obviously realized that she would no longer have this pet EVER. She sat next to me at the kitchen table crying. Then something very, very special happened.
As she sat there crying and asking me over and over for another chance, my three year old daughter quietly snuck into the kitchen behind me, reached up to the table when she thought I wasn't looking, and replaced "Oinky" with her own lil' pig webkinz. I sat there speechless with HUGE tears welling up in my eyes. My 3 yr old, in love for her sister and in an overwhelming desire to end the pain that her sister was feeling, was willing to give up her stuffed animal. At that point, I was frozen and didn't know what to do. Should I continue in the consequences for one daughter's sin or should I reward the compassionate and sacrificial heart of my 3 yr old?
I sat and thought about it for a little while and I realized that I can probably come up with COUNTLESS ways to teach my one child about the dangers of lying. On the contrary, there are not ENOUGH compassionate people in the world. I was given a true glimpse of fruits of the spirit growing in the heart of my 3 yr old and I don't think that I can pass up the opportunity to feed and water those!
Needless to say, "Oinky" has now taken semi-permanent residence on my computer desk and is awaiting his fate when Nathan comes home. I think that there are times in parenting when flexibility is as important as consistency. That may sound like a contradiction of terms, but just like we will be judged harshly by our Heavenly Father, we will also receive mercy beyond any that we will ever deserve. Praise the Lord for Grace, right?