Friday, February 24, 2012


Sin is terrible.

We have it here, in the Wilcox house. We have a lot of it.

Yesterday around lunch time, everything seemed to be going fine. I was sitting on the couch nursing Graham. The older kids sat close by, watching episodes of the Sesame Street podcast on my laptop. Then Esme decided she wanted to watch from her high chair on the other side of the room. She went and climbed in, asking me to move the high chair so she could see the computer screen. I declined to comply with her request, which she didn't appreciate.

I finished nursing Graham, burped him, set him down, then went to the kitchen and started cutting up oranges for lunch. In the other room, Matthew began to complain that Esme's whining made it impossible for him to hear Sesame Street. I heard Meg turn on Matthew, angry because Matthew was making it hard for her to hear. The next instant, I knew Meg and Matthew were fighting--I mean, on top of each other, grappling, fist and claw. I stabbed through the last pieces of orange and raced for them, but by the time I got there, Meg was sobbing in genuine pain while a still-angry Matthew looked ready to inflict more.

I yanked them apart and sat between them, alternating between pity, rage and helplessness. Rage was winning. I was too angry to comfort Meg thoroughly, too angry to do anything but berate Matthew. After a few miserable moments, I had the sense to order everyone to different corners of the house while I went to the kitchen and panted out a desperate prayer. Lord, help us. Help us!

And He did. In the next hour, I was able to ask Meg and Matthew's forgiveness for my angry response, address their hearts calmly and kindly, see them reconciled, feed everyone lunch, and put them all down for much-needed naps. Sigh.

But there was still trouble in my heart. Whispers: They are angry children because of you. It's your fault, your example that made them like this. Matthew is getting worse. This anger thing will come back to bite you again and again. They'll never change because you never change. And though I knew there was a seed of truth there--that I can't expect my kids to repent if I'm not repenting--I also knew there was a big fat lie.

It all depends on you.

Your sin is messing up your kids permanently; you are making a mess so big that nothing will be able to fix it.

And when I identified those thoughts, I knew where to run.


OK, not really. It just happened to be where I found the song that I was looking for:

There is love that came for us
Humbled to a sinner's cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again, victorious

Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm and through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, "Christ is risen,"
Jesus, You are Lord of all

No beginning and no end
You're my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, "Christ is risen,"
Jesus, You are Lord of all

So let Your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher

-Stronger, by Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding

Yes, I have made a mess so big that nothing can fix it--at least nothing that I can do. And it's not just with my kids. If you look through the eyes of a perfectly holy God, all of my life is a gigantic sink hole of failure.

But that holy God has a Son as perfectly holy and beautiful as Himself. And what Jesus has done in his life, death, resurrection and ascension is bigger than my sin. Like, way bigger.

Thanks to Jesus, I can look my sin squarely and honestly in the eye, own that it's all mine, and still say confidently (in the words of every three year old): "You're not the boss of me!" Sin, you don't own me. You don't control me. You don't condemn me any more, because Jesus took all of my condemnation once and for all. You don't determine the outcome of my life or my children's lives. We have a God who is stronger than you.

And after I listened to the song and worshipped and felt the ground of truth under my feet again, I went and laughed at this. And this. Because they both seemed somewhat relevant at the moment. And because laughter just might be stronger than sin too.


Sandi said...

Oh friend, I am so glad with you that sin is broken!

Those two links were hilarious especially the pie graph.

Jonalee said...

I can SO relate. Thanks for posting.

Trinity and the brood said...

beautiful. beautiful. thank you for the reminder, much like the email you sent condemnation. It does not depend on me. My successes or my failures. Grace is bigger.

amy said...

so needed to hear this!!