Parenting a 2-year-old is a complicated endeavor.
There is a unique complexity concerning my daughter’s unrivaled cuteness accompanied by her escalating rebellion.
As of late, Gloria has developed this new strategy when I discipline her (I know, I know, “What could a child this cute ever do wrong?” Trust me — there’s original sin under all that pink [Ps. 51:5]).
Whenever my daughter is called out for misbehavior, she attempts to distract me by pointing out a boo boo. As a two-year-old, she is getting boo-boos all the time. She knows one speed and oftentimes her body gets ahead of her feet. It seems that as soon as her knees are healed, they are injured yet again. The picture above is her pointing out an old injury that you couldn’t even see anymore when I was teaching her not to steal basketballs from her brothers.
The boo-boos aren’t a shock, it’s the fact that she is trying to distract me or to justify her actions based upon the presence of the boo boo.
“Gloria, you do not take toys away from someone else.”
“Daddy? Look: I got a boo boo.”
“Gloria, you can’t scream to get your way.”
“Ohhhh, Daddy, my boo boo hurts.”
“Gloria, stop pestering your brothers.”
“Daddy, ‘dere’s’ a boo boo right ‘dere.'”
I’m not gonna lie. She’s good.
In her disobedience, she tries to justify her actions to her father based upon prior hurts.
We do the same thing.
In our disobedience, we attempt to justify our actions to God based upon prior hurts.
In our disobedience, we attempt to justify our actions to our Father God based upon prior hurts.
In counseling, I will often lovingly call out the sin that I see in another. Oftentimes, someone will reply with a justification of their misbehavior. They don’t deny what they did was wrong, but they provide an excuse for it.
“Well, I know it wasn’t right, but…”
I can’t begin to tell you how often I have heard that line. Common excuses for sin that I hear are:
- My daddy was too harsh…
- My mother never accepted me…
- He left me…
- She hurt me…
- My spouse wasn’t really meeting my needs…
- My coworker was asking for it…
- I was tired…
- I didn’t have enough money…
- I’ve been dealing with so much stress…
He did this. She did that. The circumstances were just too much.
I sure am glad Jesus didn’t use the same reasoning.
We shouldn’t either!
We might justify our own actions, but God knows our hearts (Prov. 21:2). And our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Becoming callous to sin, we find ourselves giving ourselves “up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” (Eph. 4:19). We become lovers of self more than lovers of God (2 Tim. 3:4).
In Christ, we have to put off the old ways and put on the new person (Eph. 4:20-24). Since we have been changed by Jesus, we need to put to death those earthly things that linger inside of us (Col. 3:5). We need to replace our sinful behavior with godly behavior (Eph. 4:31-32).
I’m sure your boo-boo does hurt. We each have scars that tell stories we wish we had never read.
He did hurt you. She did disappoint you. The circumstances were far too much for you to handle. But that does not mean you have the right to continue in sin. Should we allow others’ sin to serve as a catalyst for further sin? Of course not. We must learn to manage our hurts and refuse to continue the trend.
If God or someone who cares for you point out your sin, rebellion, or misbehavior, don’t resort to pointing out your hurts. We know they are there. We are saddened by their presence. We are fully aware of the scars you carry. We just don’t want you to get any more of them. And that’s why we lovingly call out sin (James 5:19-20).
So, I’ve started a new tactic with Gloria.
“Gloria, no ma’am. You will not do that.”
“Uh oh, Daddy, I got a boo boo.”
“You have a boo-boo?”
“I am so sorry that you have a boo boo, but you cannot do that anymore.”
Maybe we all need to hear the same thing today. You can’t continue in sin. I am so sorry for the hurt in your life, but you cannot do that anymore. Understand?
But encourage one another day after day as long as it is still called “today” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. -Heb. 3:13