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life & consequences

By Irina Coombes
July 17, 2020

Passages of the day: Click HERE ​to read today’s passages.

1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11
Romans 4:1-12
Psalm 13:1-6
Proverbs 19:15-16

Have you ever had something happen in your life and you blamed God for it...or you blamed someone else? Be truthful. I can be pretty good at the blame game, although it's not something to brag about. It's human nature to find fault in our spouses, kids, parents, inanimate objects, and even God. We blame others because we are not always looking forward to the consequences of our actions and we want to avoid them! Have you noticed that the term "consequence" has a negative connotation tied to it? What if we changed that? Bear with me here.

In our passages a few days ago, we see God punish David for taking the census. God gave him three punishments to choose from and based on David's decision, the Lord sent a plague and 70,000 people died.
In today's reading - Prov. 19:16, we read "Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life, but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die." (Insert emoji with big shocked eyes here).

In our household, do something similar that God did with David. When our kids make the same mistake continually, we have a discussion and they help come up with an appropriate consequence for their actions. They help choose their consequence (a majority of the time).

At times, I wonder if I'm being too hard on my kids. Truthfully, sometimes I have been. But then I read passages like the one mentioned above and I am reminded that God guides us and we have to do the same with our children. He does that because there is a relationship there (we don't parent other people's kids because there is no relationship there).

Many parents today are getting way more of their kids than what they bargained for! Am I right?! COVID has kids home from school, parents are working from home, no/limited summer school or extracurricular activities. Our emotions are at an all time high and different personalities are clashing. But perhaps this is an opportunity that God has given us to get to know our children better - to find out who they are, what makes them tick, what soothes them, what their passions are. The consequences of this time we have no control over will forever be ingrained in all of us.

So how can we make it a positive experience?!?!

1. Consequences can be good! For example, a positive consequence can be rewarding your children (or spouse!) for good behavior. Purposefully, look for anything positive they may be doing and praise! We all love to be praised and bragged on! This will reinforce positive behavior.

2. Do what God did with David. Instead of telling a teen they are grounded for two weeks with no access to their phone, followed by said teen stomping to their room, slamming the door, (Oh...oops! This doesn't happen in Christian families right? Well maybe you can help a friend out then!) we can guide them by having a calm conversation (arguing and yelling aside please) and having them help come up with a consequence that they feel is appropriate.

3. Surprise your child by turning on the music they like to in the car or at home. Warning...you may get a bewildered stare. But it's going to get their brains hopping! Here, you are forming a relationship with them rather than imposing your own habits and preferences upon them. Like it or not, your child may like Family Force 5 or Lecrae and you like singing hymns. That's ok! They are not supposed to be your replica.

Happy Covid! May you make the best of it! Go change your child's world and their shocked faces will be a bonus.

*Note - examples above have been tested by my own family. If you happen to try any of these out, share your story!

To memorize:

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

— Psalm 13:5-6

Prayer to start with: Lord, help us change our thought patterns during this time. Help us to find joy and happiness and focus on all the good. You have blessed us with so much but at times we take it for granted. We stand against tiredness, depression and anxiety. They have no control over our actions.