I once read a story about a kid that started a lawn mower with the oil cap loose. The kid began to mow the grass but once the mower heated up, the oil began shooting out of the engine like a fountain of black liquid. The black oil covered the kid, the mower, and everything within a six-foot radius. This illustration is perfect for understanding the depth of our sin and how it lies deeply inside of us and how it’s there the whole time, and how it erupts from our hearts when we overheat.
Like oil, our sin damages and stains those who are around us, and although God uses unique people and circumstances in our lives to expose our sin, he does so to refine us and to sanctify us. Many people expose my sin, but no one does it better than my own flesh and blood.
When my daughter came along she only slept a few hours a night, so that meant that my wife and I only slept a few hours a night. Exhausted, my wife and I began to argue like we never had before. We began to say things that we never had before. There were so many decisions that had to be made that we had to agree on, and so many times we found ourselves at odds with each other.
Two exhausted sinners make everything explode, so the gloves came off and we were fighting for the first time in our marriage.
My daughter also exposed how controlling I am, and how angry I can get. I had no idea how much pride was inside me. God was showing me something. It’s not my wife or daughter’s fault, or lack of sleep that made me angry. It was me. I’m sinful and selfish, and my sin was there the whole time. My truest colors came out as my body gave in to the exhaustion and as I was tested by her crazy, over-dramatic behavior.
Now God is really teaching me to pick my battles and to guide my daughter with love instead of trying to control her with anger. I’m ashamed of how I’ve dealt with her, and I’ve asked for her forgiveness several times. I know this is something I’ll have to continue to do and I’m hoping that it will be a way for her to understand that we all desperately need forgiveness, not only from ourselves but also from God. I love the new chances that I get with my daughter, and I want to make the most of them by repenting and changing.
The beautiful thing about repentance is that by submitting to God and turning from our sin, God allows us to become someone else, someone who experiences healing and transformation. God is calling us all to repentance to be the children He wants us to be so that we can deal with our children as he deals with us.
Our home is a safe-haven for our families, but it’s also a place where we find ourselves broken and hurting because of our own sin. It’s a place we can be ourselves, which can be good, but if we know ourselves it can also be really bad. We can tend to get too comfortable, but God is calling us to something greater. He is showing us through our failures that we need renewal every single day.
Satan never sleeps, so our greatest and most profound need is to lean into the presence of God, and to live out of the overflow of that relationship as people who know and love him, and by showing that we love him by how we love others around us, all in the name of Jesus.