Over the past few years, one of the most requested topics on my speaking circuit has been a lesson in which I list a hundred ideas for training our kids to be servants. Service oriented kids grow up to be productive adult servants in the kingdom and it’s those people to whom the Lord will say, “Come ye blessed of my Father,” according to Matthew 25. So it matters if I’m making a real effort, as a mom, to put the heart of a servant in my child. For this reason, I’ve decided to devote a post, every now and then, to a service suggestion—a simple idea for moms to make their homes busy service centers for young hearts and hands. I’d love to hear from those of you who try them. So here goes:
Good for Evil Rule
This is one of my favorites of all time. It’s so good because it is just so plainly Biblical. It has to be right. When your kids come in from the yard or home from school and begin the long “poor me” speech about how badly they were mistreated…you know…something like
“Jim grabbed my glove today at practice and he wouldn’t give it back.”
OR…”Katie pulled my bow out of my hair and then made fun of me because my hair was messed up.”
OR…”Jordan said my new glasses look like an old lady.”
OR…Lily told Michael that I said I thought he was cute!”
OR…Ashley and Jenna would not let me play ponies with them.”
You know this list could go on for pages. You get the point.
…Well, whenever this happens it is just like a big bonus opportunity to put the Scriptures into practice. The bottom of Romans 12 gives us some clear instructions as to what to do when someone mistreats us. It’s not hard to understand; just hard to do. When someone does something bad to me, it’s my duty, as a Christian, to do something good for that person.
So, when it happens to your kids, you say “Well, what good thing are we going to do for Jim?” You elicit ideas. You choose one and be sure you follow up by getting it done. Perhaps you’ll want to send Jim a bag of home-baked cookies or a package of baseball cards. Maybe you will want to make a cute hair bow for Jordan or take her a package of cute barrettes. Perhaps you will want to give Lily a hug, say a prayer for her or take her a cute notepad. Maybe Jordan needs a new Berenstain Bear book about being respectful or maybe you will want to invite him to VBS with you. Maybe Ashley and Jenna need your daughter to paint them a pretty picture of ponies to tape on their lunch boxes tomorrow. What you do is not nearly as important as what you say to your child in this teachable moment. Make sure your child is “getting it” about heaping coals of fire on a head, about whose department houses vengeance and about overcoming evil with good. But watch out! Your kids will soon be coming to do something very nice for you after receiving a spanking. Then you will have a whole new lesson to teach!
Seriously, this kind of reciprocation will stick with your kids for life. God gives us some very teachable moments for the pliable hearts he has put in our kids. Let’s not waste them.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).